Page last updated at 14:36 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 15:36 UK

Scores killed in India flooding

By Habib Beary
BBC News, Bangalore

Flood victims in the Indian state of Bihar
India has been hit by several floods in recent weeks

At least 125 people have been killed after three days of torrential rains battered the Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, officials say.

Most victims were either washed away in rivers or died as their homes collapsed, police said.

Karnataka is the worst affected state. Officials say that at least 102 people have died there in the last three days.

Hundreds of people remain stranded and the state government has asked for help with the rescue effort.

It wants Delhi to provide military helicopters. Indian Air Force planes are already part of the rescue operation.

'Crops damaged'


Among those waiting to be rescued are hundreds of pilgrims in the holy town of Mantralaya, which has been flooded.

"The situation is serious. We have asked for helicopters from the Indian Air Force to help us," said Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa after holding a crisis management meeting.

Boats from the Madras Engineering Group, a specialised military wing, have been requisitioned to help with the rescue effort.

About 22,500 houses have been damaged in rains blamed by weather experts on the cyclone in the Bay of Bengal.

The authorities say incessant rains have not only damaged crops but also disrupted communication and transport links in many areas of Karnataka and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

The Karnataka opposition has attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for what it called its failure to provide relief to the villagers in the affected areas.

The state cabinet was attending a three-day orientation camp when the rains first struck. The meeting ended on Thursday.

"So many people are dying... thousands of livestock have perished in the floods and standing crops have been washed away. But the BJP government ministers are taking lessons... on how to govern," remarked former chief minister and leader of the Janata Dal Secular party, HD Kumaraswamy.

Mr Yeddyurappa denied the charge, saying his officials were working hard to provide relief.

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