At least 213 people have been killed since July 21, 2017 in India's state of Gujarat after extremely heavy monsoon rains hit the state causing severe flooding. Hundreds of cities and villages were devastated and more than 130 000 people evacuated.
Gujarat authorities said the state's death toll, which jumped by 90 in the past day as floodwaters started to recede from low-lying areas, was likely to increase as new victims were discovered. "Only after a postmortem is conducted we can officially confirm the death of a person," an official at the Gujarat emergency control room told Agence France-Presse. "Since many bodies were found, postmortems took time, hence the sudden jump in numbers."
According to Times of India, the maximum deaths have happened since July 21 in Banaskantha district that was pounded by incessant rainfall and due to a release of massive quantity of water from the local dams later. Control room sources said that 61 deaths, mostly due to drowning, have been reported from Banaskantha alone.
"This is the worst flood of the century in Banaskantha," Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said.
The flooding has paralyzed Gujarat, with flights diverted from the airport in its largest city, Ahmedabad, more than 150 factories shut down, and an estimated 50 000 cotton farms waterlogged. More than 4 000 animals were thought to have been killed so far, according to The Guardian.
Lightning storms in Odisha and another state, Jharkhand, killed 21 people on Monday, July 31 with more inclement weather expected throughout this week. Most of the victims were working in fields when lightning struck them, disaster management authority officials said.
Nearly 700 people have died across India in recent weeks as monsoon rain has submerged roads, damaged electricity networks and triggered lethal lightning storms.
Featured image: Rescue operations in Gujarat, India - July 2017. Credit: Indian Navy