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India floods kill 63 people in two days

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
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Flooding, landslides kill dozens in India
  • Flooding and landslides began in northern India on Saturday
  • About 5,000 people have been evacuated to safety
  • Officials fear death toll could rise
  • India
  • Floods
  • Natural Disasters

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- At least 63 people have been killed from flooding and landslides in northern India since Saturday, officials said Sunday.

Authorities have evacuated about 5,000 people to safety from one of the three worst-hit districts of Uttarakhand state, its disaster-management secretary, Rakesh Kumar, told CNN.

Flooding from heavy rains has blocked state highways, cutting off communication links, he said. Uttarakhand's major rivers, Kumar added, also flowed above their danger levels.

The state government has called in the army and federal emergency crews for rescue, according to officials.

All schools and colleges in the state have been ordered to remain closed for the next three days, Kumar said.

Most of the 63 deaths recorded since Saturday have been caused by collapsed houses, landslides and drowning cases, he said. Officials fear the toll may rise.

India's main weather office has forecast heavy rains in parts of Uttarakhand and the neighboring Uttar Pradesh state during the next 24 hours.

Flooding from seasonal monsoon rains kills hundreds of people every year in India.

More than 800 rain-related deaths have been reported from across the country since June this year, according to a federal home ministry update issued Thursday.