August 11, 2008 / 12:09 PM / 12 years ago

South India monsoon rains kill 15 more, ruin crops

A rescue worker rows a boat through a flooded residential area after heavy monsoon rains in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad August 11, 2008. REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder

HYDERABAD, India (Reuters) - At least 15 more people were killed overnight in heavy monsoon rains which have wrecked homes and destroyed farmland in southern India, taking the death toll over the past two days to 61, officials said on Monday.

The rains triggered flooding in major cities and towns and destroyed 150,000 hectares (370,660 acres) of mostly paddy crops across southern Andhra Pradesh state alone, officials said.

“A failure of the rice crop in the state would certainly be a cause for concern, it is a large producer and a large consumer,” said R.S. Seshadri, a director of rice lands in the area.

At least 10 people were killed late on Sunday and 15 others went missing when a truck was swept away in flash floods in the state’s Guntur district, officials said. Others died in house collapses or were washed away.

Heavy rains breached mud embankments and damaged roads and homes, forcing authorities to evacuate some 40,000 people to 119 temporary shelters across the state, K. Ratna Prabha, a senior government official said.

The monsoon usually hits India on June 1 and retreats in September, and is key to irrigating some 60 percent of farm land.

But it leaves massive destruction in its wake, killing hundreds of people and destroying homes, crops, roads and bridges every year.

The first edge of the monsoon this year killed some 100 people, mostly in the country’s flood-prone east and northeast.

(Additional reporting by Biman Mukherjee; Writing by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Paul Tait)

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