15 killed, flood alert sounded in UP

Lucknow, June 17 (IANS) Fifteen people were killed in heavy rains and floods in Uttar Pradesh Monday and a flood alert was sounded in several districts of the state, officials said.

All the casualties were reported from Saharanpur, where many pilgrims are trapped in the Shakumbhari Devi area following the rain and floods.

The flood alert was sounded in many districts as rivers like the Ganga, Ghaghra and Sharda are in spate.

Among the dead is a chief medical officer (CMO) from Punjab and his family of five, who drowned after being caught in raging river waters.

"Heavy rains are expected across eastern and western parts of Uttar Pradesh in the next 24 hours," regional director of the met office here J.P. Gupta told IANS.

Flooding has been reported from Saharanpur, Bijnore, Muzaffarnagar, Gorakhpur, Siddharthanagar, Azamgarh, Lakhimpur Kheri, Ballia and Varanasi.

The state government has deployed 14 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) for flood relief and rescue operations in rain-hit areas of Faizabad, Bareilly, Allahabad, Kanpur, Agra, Saharnpur, Hapur, Bijnore and Varanasi.

Inspector General of Police (IG) Law & Order R.K Vishwakarma told IANS that till Monday evening, 45 people trapped in inundated areas had been rescued by choppers.