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More than 100 dead and dozens missing in floods in India and Nepal

More than 100 people have died after days of flooding and landslides which swept away roads and homes in India and Nepal, authorities said.

On Wednesday, the official death toll in India rose to 85 and 11 missing, and in Nepal to 31 dead and 43 missing.

The Indian Meteorological Department on Tuesday extended and broadened its alert, predicting “heavy” to “very heavy” rainfall in the region over the next two days. In some places, more than 400mm of water fell on Monday.

In the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, authorities said 46 people had died in recent days and 11 were missing.

In the southern coastal state of Kerala, local chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the death toll was 39.

About 30 of the victims in Uttarakhand were killed early on Tuesday in seven separate incidents in the worst-hit Nainital region after a series of landslides and infrastructure collapses caused by a massive downpour.

Five members of one family were buried in their house, said local official Pradeep Jain.

Five other victims were killed in a landslide in the Almora district of northern Uttarakhand that engulfed their house under rocks and mud.

Due to weather warnings, authorities have ordered the closure of schools and banned all religious and tourist activities in the state.

Images broadcast on television and circulated on social media show residents making their way through knee-deep water near the tourist site of Nainital Lake, or the Ganges overflowing into the town of Rishikesh.

More than a hundred tourists were stranded in the resort of Ramgarh as the Kosi River flooded several localities.

In Nepal, Humkala Pandey, the government’s disaster management officer, said that “in the last three days, floods and landslides caused by heavy post-monsoon rains have claimed 31 lives across the country”.

“Forty-three people are missing,” she added. “It is still raining in many places. We are still compiling data on the ground. The death toll could still rise.”

Landslides regularly hit India’s northern Himalayas but experts say their numbers are increasing with global warming, melting glaciers, hydroelectric dam construction and deforestation.

In February, a flash flood devastated the Rishiganga valley in Uttarakhand, killing some 200 people. Only about 60 bodies were recovered.

According to weather forecasts, heavy rains are also expected to hit the southern Indian state of Kerala in the coming days, where floods have already killed more than 27 people since Friday.

Many dams in the tourist state were near the alert level, rivers were overflowing, and authorities evacuated thousands of people. After a brief respite on Tuesday, further heavy rainfall is expected over the next two days.

In 2018, nearly 500 people died in Kerala, which was ravaged by the worst floods in nearly a century.

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