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Floods kill 200 in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh

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Floods kill 200 in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh

BANGALORE (Reuters) – Floods triggered by heavy rains have killed at least 200 people in the past five days in southern India, destroyed standing crops and left tens of thousands of people homeless, officials said on Sunday.

At least 167 people have been killed in Karnataka, where several rivers burst their mud embankments following heavy rains and swept away houses.

“There is death and destruction all around us,” Basavaraj Bommai, a senior government minister said in Bangalore, the capital of the southern state, which is also an IT hub.

Authorities said vast areas of agricultural land, including sugarcane and paddy fields were under water in the state.

“The crop loss estimate is being ascertained… Our top priority is to provide relief to thousands of homeless people,” the state’s Home (Interior) Minister V.S.Acharya said on Sunday.

Acharya said most of the victims died in house collapses or were swept away by the flood waters.

More than 100,000 people were homeless and television pictures showed hundreds of people waving at helicopters carrying relief materials from rooftops. Some were seen clinging on to tree branches.

In the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh, at least 33 people have died and more than 1.8 million people have been affected by the floods, officials said.

The trading and cotton-growing town of Kurnool, which is dotted with ancient forts was the worst affected, where 15 people have died in the past two days and thousands affected, officials said.

“We have evacuated 40,000 people in Kurnool town alone,” said Dinesh Kumar, a senior disaster management official said in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state.

Officials said the death toll could increase as 5,000 people were still trapped in flood-hit remote areas, and rescuers were yet to reach many villages.

Almost 1,000 people have been killed by severe flooding in India this year, while tens of thousands more have lost their homes and seen large swathes of their farmland devastated, according to the Red Cross.

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