Early Monsoon Rains Lash India

52 villagers stranded by flash floods in India
June 17, 2013 Updated: June 18, 2013

Rescue operations are on to help 52 villagers stranded on an island in the flooded Yamuna River in the north Indian state of Haryana.

Monsoons rains, arriving a month earlier than normal, are covering the whole of India. Heavy rains have clogged drainage systems in Delhi flooding city streets, and caused landslides in the northern and central Himalayan regions.

According to a report by NDTV television, Indian air force helicopters have been put into service and the Indian army is on standby to rescue the 52 residents, which include 15 children from Lapra Village. The group has been stranded on the river island since Sunday morning.

The report says that the group had gone to the island to collect muskmelon and watermelon when the flash floods stranded them.

The Haryana State government has issued flood warnings to regions around the Yamuna River, which originates from the Himalayas and flows through the state into Delhi.

On Sunday, heavy rains also waterlogged the New Delhi airport causing inconvenience to passengers who had to wade through knee deep water. Monsoons arrived in Delhi two weeks ahead of schedule.

The rains caused landslides in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, killing eight people on Sunday in the state of Uttarakhand, according to a Press Trust of India report. Several roads and bridges have been swept away in the region. Major tributaries of the Ganges River in the region are also flowing over the danger mark and many routes have been closed for safety.

Southwest monsoons, also called the lifeline of India, usually cover the country in mid-July. This year’s early rains bode well for a bumper harvest from summer-sown crops. These rains are crucial as more than half of India’s arable land is rain fed.

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