Heavy rains in north trigger landslides, floods; many dead

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Heavy monsoon rains today wreaked havoc in the hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and flooded parts of Haryana where the water level in the Yamuna rose alarmingly, leaving 22 people dead and l000 stranded.

The toll in the rain fury is expected to climb with 50 people missing in Uttarakhand where authorities suspended the chardham yatra to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.

The annual Kailash Mansarovar ‘yatra’ was also suspended in view of heavy rains in Uttarakhand.

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The tribal Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh was the worst hit with nine persons dead in landslides that blocked important roads leaving Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh stranded in Sangla Valley.

About 1000 tourists and locals were stranded at various places, including 800 in Sangla alone and heavy rains were hampering the rescue operations. About 25 foreigners and a Doordarshan team were also stranded in Kinnaur district.

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In Uttarakhand, five more bodies were recovered today from near the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath, taking the toll in the torrential rains lashing Uttarakhand to 13.

The rains have triggered flash floods in the Ganga, Yamuna and their tributaries at most of the places sweeping away a number of bridges, roads and buildings. The swirling waters of Assiganga, a tributary of the Ganga, has swept away several buildings including a four storeyed house which had been vacated in advance and a temple.

Heavy rains in several parts of Haryana, particularly in Yamunanagar district, has led to floods even as water level in the Yamuna river rose alarmingly, prompting authorities to sound a high alert in the neighbouring districts of Karnal, Panipat and Sonepat.

Several low-lying villages in the district were flooded after the Yamuna river received heavy rainfall in its catchment areas. The rains have led to an alarming increase in the water level of Yamuna, with over 8 lakh cusecs water flowing through the Hathni Kund barrage early this morning.

The national capital witnessed intermittent to heavy rain Monday morning, with the minimum temperature plunging five notches below average for this time of the year to 23.5 degrees Celsius.

The Met department forecast rain for the next 24 hours to Tuesday morning.

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Commuters faced traffic snarls in parts of the city as major roads got waterlogged on account of poor drainage.

With traffic signals failing and several streets turning near rivulets, traffic was slowed to a crawl at many places.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the city received 58.5 mm of rain from 8.30 p.m. Sunday to 8.30 a.m. Monday.

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