The Heat Is Online

Rains kill 20 in India

Heavy rains kill at least 20 in India's Gujarat
Reuters News Service
, June 28, 2002

AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) -- Heavy monsoon showers lashing India's western state of Gujarat over the last three days have killed at least 20 people and forced the evacuation of hundreds, officials said on Friday.

The incessant downpour has spurred hundreds of people to move to higher ground from areas along the coast of south Gujarat, C.K. Koshy, the official coordinating relief operations, said.

"The situation is not alarming at the moment but we're taking every precautionary measure to ensure the safety of people as heavy rains have been forecast for the next 48 hours," he said.

Koshy said the deaths took place in rain-linked accidents such as lightning strikes, building collapses and flooding.

A number of dams meant to harvest rainwater were full and in danger of overflowing if rain continues, officials said.

Rail traffic between Ahmedabad, Gujarat's main city and Bombay, India's financial capital, has been suspended until Monday due to flooding and breaks in the tracks.

R.K. Kankane, regional director of the India Meteorological Department, said Gujarat would receive heavy rains in the next two days from a low-pressure area over the central state of Madhya Pradesh and a small cyclonic formation in the Bay of Bengal.

In the past week, most of Gujarat has had more rainfall than usual from the southwest monsoon, he said.

Copyright 2002 Reuters. All rights reserved.