Deaths from heavy monsoon rise to nearly 140 in eastern India

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The death toll in eastern India from torrential late monsoon rains has risen to nearly 140, officials said Tuesday as hospitals and schools were inundated with dirty rainwater.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said the current monsoon has been the heaviest since 1994, classifying it "above normal", and this year's season has been longer than usual.

Over the past four days 111 people have died in Uttar Pradesh state and another 28 lost their lives in neighbouring Bihar, government officials told AFP.

Some 900 inmates had to be shifted from a Ballia district prison in Uttar Pradesh to "ensure their safety and health" after rainwater flooded the premises.

Residents of Patna - the capital of Bihar, home to two million people - used lifeboats to escape heavily water-logged homes.

Although the rains have stopped, large swathes of the city remained submerged, with schools and shops shut.

Images showed rainwater swamping hospital wards and residential areas where disaster management officials delivered milk, bananas and drinking water pouches on inflatable boats.

The annual monsoon season usually lasts from June to September but late heavy rains have continued to lash several parts of the country this year, wreaking havoc.

"In spite of late monsoon onset and large deficient rainfall during the month of June, the seasonal rainfall ended in above normal category," the IMD said on Monday.

Late monsoon fury kills 100 in north India

At least 100 people have died in northern India over the last three days in unusually heavy late monsoon rains which have submerged streets, hospital wards and houses, officials said Monday.

Dozens of boats were pressed into service on streets overflowing with gushing rain water in Patna, the capital of the eastern state of Bihar, after torrential downpours far stronger the normal.

At least 27 people have lost their lives across the state and another 63 in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh since Friday, authorities said.

With more rain predicted, weather experts say September could end as the wettest in more than a hundred years.

"Patna alone has recorded some 226 millimetres (8.9 inches) of rainfall since Friday," Bihar disaster response official M. Ramachandru told AFP.

Photos showed patients lying on hospital beds in dirty rain water at the state-run Nalanda Medical College and Hospital in Patna.

It has also been raining heavily in southern India and in the western state of Gujarat.

The annual monsoon usually lasts from June to September.

With the Indian Meteorological Department Monday predicting excess rainfall across 15 states, this year's monsoon will end as the wettest since 1917, the mass-circulation Times of India said.

"There are no signs of withdrawal for at least four-five days," senior IMD officer Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told the daily.

The monsoon, which is vital for farmers across the South Asian region, killed some 650 people in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan in July this year.

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