Landslides, monsoon flooding kill 47 in northern India over the weekend, officials say

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Heavy monsoon rains and landslides swept the hilly areas of northern India over the weekend, killing at least 47 people, officials said Monday.

Twenty-four people died Sunday as falling boulders crushed their homes in three villages in Almorah district in Uttrakhand state, said Prashant Kumar Tamta, a state government spokesman.

Another 23 people were either swept away by floodwaters or died when homes collapsed in landslides in Pitthoragarh, Champawat and Uttarkashi regions of state Saturday and Sunday, Tamta told The Associated Press.

Rains continued to lash the region on Monday, threatening dozens of villages near Tehri Dam whose water level was nearing the danger level.

The area is 250 miles (400 kilometers) southwest of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.

On Friday, a boat carrying mostly schoolchildren capsized in a flooded river near Faizabad, a town in Uttar Pradesh state, drowning 15 people, said Surendra Srivastava, a police spokesman.

The annual monsoon season from June to October brings rains that are vital to agriculture in India.

However, monsoon rains take a heavy human toll in South Asia every year.

In August, flash floods killed at least 175 people in the remote and mountainous Ladakh region of the Indian portion of Kashmir.

In neighboring Pakistan, monsoon floods have killed more than 1,700 people and damaged or destroyed nearly 1.9 million homes in the past six weeks.

India is experiencing an excessive rainfall this season after a drought last year. The rainfall recorded Sept. 1-15 was 22 percent above the average for the period, according to the India Meteorological Department.