Retreating monsoon rains have led to deadly floods across wide areas of Uttar Pradesh state

A heavy spell of retreating monsoon rains has flooded wide areas of northern India, killing dozens of people in the past week.

A spokeswoman for the Disaster Management and Relief Department, Sandhaya Kureel, said that most of the 59 fatalities were caused by house collapses, lightning and drownings in Uttar Pradesh state. They included at least five people dying of snake bites in flooded areas.

The temple city of Varanasi was lashed by 19cm (7 inches) of rain on Thursday and Friday, flooding the bathing areas of the Ganges River used by thousands of Hindu pilgrims.

Schools were shut on Saturday as the downpour caused disruptions in the state capital, Lucknow, and several towns, including Amethi and Hardoi.

JP Gupta, director of the state meteorological department, said the rain is expected to ease after Monday.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the western state of Maharashtra also was hit by heavy rain and nearly 3,000 people were moved to higher ground due to flooding in low-lying areas of Pune city and neighbouring areas.

More than 350 people have been killed in India, Nepal and Bangladesh this monsoon season, which runs from June through September.



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