Monsoon-triggered floods killed more than 400 people as scores of villages and towns and large swathes of cropland in five states were submerged by breaching water from swollen rivers over the past week.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered central help in relief and rescue after speaking to chief ministers of the affected states. He said home minister Rajnath Singh is monitoring the situation.
“I pray for the safety and wellbeing of those in areas affected by floods in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh,” the prime minister’s office tweeted on Monday.
Madhya Pradesh is the worst-hit with over 101 people dead and around 350,000 affected. The state, which was reeling under drought until the monsoon arrived, has received more than double the normal rainfall for the period. Unprecedented rain triggered floods in 30 of its 51 districts.
The central state’s rain fury spilled over to neighbouring Rajasthan. The excess water flowing from MP has flooded the border districts of Kota, Jhalawar, Chittorgarh, Banswara and Pratapgarh.
Chittorgarh collector Inderjeet Singh said the situation was normal on Monday, but the administration is preparing for any eventuality as the weather office has predicted heavy rain for adjacent Neemuch in MP.
In Bihar, which has received less than normal rainfall, the danger comes from its rivers. The overflowing Son, which flows into the state from MP to join the Ganga, has flooded large tracts in the state.
The river has breached its banks at several places after excess water from Indrapuri Barrage was released. The situation aggravated after a spell of heavy rain on Sunday night.
“Villagers would be shifted to a safer place as the water level is rising continuously. We have provided 15 boats to affected villagers for evacuation,” said Amit Rajdeep, district disaster management officer, Sahibganj.
A fresh spell of downpour has affected over 35,000 people in Jharkhand.
In Uttarakhand, around 80 people have died this season with the latest victim being a woman said to be missing in Chamoli district following a cloudburst on Monday.
Seventy-three people were killed and thousands displaced because of the overflowing Ganga in Uttar Pradesh.
With inputs from Patna, Jaipur, Bhopal and New Delhi