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Rain-fueled floods in southeast India force nearly 70,000 people to evacuate villages

Days of torrential rains in southeast India have unleashed floods that have blocked roads, halted trains and forced the evacuation of nearly 70,000 people from hundreds of low-lying villages.

The Press Trust of India on Saturday cited Andhra Pradesh state officials as saying that 21 people had died in flood-related incidents since the rains began Monday.

Villages were inundated and crops were being ruined in the so-called Rice Bowl of India. Railway services have been suspended along routes where tracks were damaged.

The local Disaster Management Department said evacuated residents were sheltering in 135 relief camps, with rescuers working to recover those stranded.

The region was hit earlier this month by a powerful cyclone that prompted authorities to evacuate nearly a million people in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states.