22 killed as rain lashes northern India, flood toll tops 1,400

At least 22 people were killed in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh in heavy rains since Monday, taking the death toll across the country in rain-related incidents to over 1,400 during the current monsoon season, officials and news reports said Tuesday.

Most of the deaths in Uttar Pradesh were caused by incidents of house collapse and flooding, the IANS news agency reported.

Officials told the IANS that the casualties were reported from seven districts of the state including Barabanki, Sultanpur, Lakhmipur, Bahraich and Chitrakoot districts. Cattle also perished in the floods, dpa reported.

Manvendra Gupta, an official in the state's revenue department tasked with rescue and relief operations, said 73 people had died in rain-related incidents over the weekend.

"Uttar Pradesh has been the worst affected by the monsoon-driven floods this year. More than 580 people have died since June," Gupta said by telephone.

Meanwhile, the state meteorological office predicted that moderate to heavy rains will continue to lash the region until Wednesday.

Officials at the Department of National Disaster Management said more than 1,400 people had died in the affected states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

India's monsoon season lasts from June to October but came a few weeks early this year. The rains are the heaviest in eastern India and gradually moved across in a north-westerly direction.

The seasonal rains in 2007 were the most devastating in recent memory, with more than 3,200 people killed across several states.

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