Residents are evacuated from a flooded neighbourhood after heavy rainfall in Hyderabad. Vinod Babu/Reuters
Floods brought by heavy rains and overflowing rivers across large swathes of western and southern India have killed at least 60 people since Wednesday and damaged rice, cotton and other crops worth billions of rupees, officials said.
The worst affected state was Telangana, where excessive unseasonal rainfall on Wednesday and Thursday flooded its capital Hyderabad, home to major companies and startups such as Microsoft, Accenture, Amazon and TCS.
The rains damaged crops worth at least 20 billion Indian rupees ($272.16 million), the state Chief Minister’s office said in a statement late on Thursday.
In Telangana 50 people died, while in the neighbouring western state of Maharashtra 10 people were killed because of wall collapses, electrocution and drowning in overflowing streams, officials from the two states said on Thursday.
Authorities in Hyderabad declared a holiday on Thursday and asked residents to stay indoors.
Daily life has been disrupted in Hyderabad as many parts of the city lost power in the flooding.
Residents posted pictures on Twitter of floating cars, waterlogged homes, offices and streets.
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A few districts in Maharashtra state received more than 100 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours and the state, including its capital Mumbai, is likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on Thursday and Friday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its daily forecast.
The rains have damaged rice paddies in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, while cotton, soybean and pulses were damaged in Maharashtra and Karnataka, traders said.
“Soybean, pigeon peas and black matpe crops have been damaged just before harvesting. The quality of the harvested crop has also deteriorated,” said Nitin Kalantri, a trader from Latur, in Maharashtra.
Telangana and Maharashtra have so far in October received 143% and 78% more rainfall than normal respectively, according to data compiled by IMD.
Seasonal monsoon rains from June to September are a crucial lifeline for agrarian Indian society, delivering 70% of the country's rainfall, but they also bring in their wake death and destruction every year.
The extremely heavy rainfall of 25.63 cm recorded at Osmania University in the city also broke the 20-year-old record.
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