NEW DELHI (Reuters) - At least seven people were killed in a landslide in India’s northern Himachal Pradesh state, officials said on Thursday, adding to a growing death toll from heavy monsoon rains in the country.
State Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said seven bodies had been recovered during rescue operations that were still underway. "Three people are still missing and rescuers are looking for them," he added.
In the Rajouri district of the neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir region, at least three people were reported dead from floods triggered by heavy rain, officials said.
“I am 58-years-old and I have never seen such a severe flood in my life,” said Ved Prakash, a resident of Rajouri, adding that a bridge broke down and was washed away.
Landslides and flooding have stranded dozens of tourists in recent days in parts of Himachal Pradesh, a scenic Himalayan region where many people from hotter parts of the country travel to escape the extreme summer temperatures.
Some roads around areas where landslides occurred have been blocked as a safety measure, said Saju Ram Rana, a police official in Himachal's Kinnaur district.
In the remote village of Honzar in the hills of Kashmir, the death toll from a cloudburst on Wednesday rose to seven people, with 19 missing. A senior official there said rescue operations were underway but there were scant chances of finding any more survivors.
From floods in China and Western Europe to heatwaves in North America, many parts of the world have been battered by harsh weather in recent weeks, raising fresh concerns about the impacts of climate change.
In India, there have been increasing instances of extreme weather in recent years, causing large-scale damage to life and property. Environmentalists warn climate change and indiscriminate construction in India's fragile coastal regions could lead to more disasters.
(Reporting by Sunil Kataria in New Delhi and Fayaz Bukhari in Srinagar; Writing by Zeba Siddiqui; Editing by Frances Kerry)