India: thousands evacuated as flood waters inundate villages

The latest deaths were in the western state of Maharashtra, where some 80,000 people have been forced from their homes by flood waters. Another 50,000 have been evacuated in the state of Gujarat, which lies just north of Maharashtra, and there were reports of flooding in the southern state of Karnataka.

Reports from local officials in various parts of India indicated that at least 340 people have died in this year's monsoon, which runs from April to September. But an accurate national death toll is not kept, and the total number of people killed across India is likely much higher.

Most of those killed either drowned in floods, were crushed when poorly built houses collapsed or were electrocuted when raging waters exposed live wires.

In some parts of Maharashtra, "the water level was rising the entire day on Monday, but today we hope it will stabilize so rescue and relief operations can continue," said K. Vatsa, a senior Maharashtra state welfare official, according to the AP.

The flooding has also forced train delays across southern and western India.

Indian television stations have broadcast pictures of villagers wading in waist-deep water and carrying blankets filled with their belongings to dry ground.

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