Mon, Jun 25, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Heavy rains drench Mumbai, Karachi

AGENCIES , NEW DELHI AND KARACHI, PAKISTAN

Aid workers backed by military helicopters battled yesterday to provide food for 200,000 people displaced by monsoon floods in southern India, while the Pakistani city of Karachi was mostly without power after a storm killed 43 people.

In the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, reeling after two days of heavy rains, officials revised down the death toll to 35, but said 24,000 houses had collapsed and 200,000 people were now homeless.

Officials had earlier put the death toll in the state at 45.

"Soldiers and naval helicopters have taken up rescue operations in Kurnool and Guntur districts ... where people are stranded on rooftops and up trees," said Preeti Sudan, the state's disaster management commissioner.

She said half a million food packets and a million water sachets were being handed out to people in 300 relief centers in the state where rains have since eased.

Meanwhile, in Karachi officials said much of the city of 10 million had been without power for more than 12 hours.

Regional Health Minister Sardar Ahmed, however, said a total of 43 people were confirmed dead around the city after Saturday's storm. Some were electrocuted as power lines fell and others crushed as homes collapsed.

In India's financial capital, Mumbai, heavy monsoon rains flooded homes and streets where a century-old British-built drainage system failed to cope with the stormwater. At least one person was killed when a wall collapsed. People waded through waste deep water in low-lying neighborhoods.

Media reports said about 50 people had died in the rains in Maharashtra state over the past three days.

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