MUMBAI, Nov. 10 (UPI) — Landslides and flooding set off by heavy monsoon rains in the past two days in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state killed at least 71 people, authorities said.
The worst affected areas were the Nilgiris Hills and the hill resort towns of Coonoor, Ooty and Kotagiri, the Times of India reported. Nilgiris alone accounted for at least 43 deaths, the report said.
Uprooted trees and high water had cut off road links between Coonoor and Ooty, both popular tourist destinations, authorities said. Several homes in the affected region remained buried under landslides.
A Nilgiris official told the Times of India several firefighting teams along with 170 state police personnel were assisting rescue teams. So far about 700 people had been evacuated and moved into temporary camps.
On the other side of the country, the Indian meteorological department, monitoring a deep depression over the Arabian Sea, issued a cyclone alert for western Gujarat state. The storm, moving in a northerly direction, was expected to make landfall Thursday in the state. Neighboring Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, was also forecast to be affected by the storm.
“The system is currently not a cyclone, but is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm,” department head Kamaljeet Ray said.
Heavy rains pounded Mumbai Tuesday, snarling traffic. The airport was shut down for a couple of hours after a small plane skidded off the runway but all passengers and crew aboard were unhurt.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International