Heavy Rains Inundate Northern India

Created: 2013-06-18 10:16 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific
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Heavy rains lashed parts of northern India, causing floods, forcing evacuations and resulting in extensive damage to property on Monday (June 17).

The army and the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) jointly rescued over 50 people who were stranded in a heavily flooded area in India's northern Yamunagar town.

Early monsoon rains have proved to be a bane in several parts of the country with water levels in the country's arterial rivers rising to abnormal levels, and causing disruption to residents.

[K. Markand, District Collector]:
"The rescue operation is being carried by the Army and the team of India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). We have rescued 26 people as of now. Twenty-three people are still to be rescued and our teams have already left for doing so."

The rains usually cover all of India by mid-July, but this year it happened on June 16, the earliest such occurrence on record, a senior official at the India Meteorological Department said.

Directorate General of India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Sandeep Rathore said that efforts to rescue and assist those affected are ongoing.

A strong start to the monsoon aids farm output as about 55 percent of the south Asian nation's arable land is rain-fed. It can also help hold down inflation, a critical concern for the government, which is preparing for national elections in 2014.

The farm sector accounts for about 15 percent of India's near two-trillion U.S. dollar economy, Asia's third-biggest.

Last week, the weather office retained its forecast for an average monsoon for this year, riding on a timely start to the season on June 1.