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25 found dead as toll from Indian floods nears 120

A submerged bridge is covered with flood waters near Vivekanandnagar village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on July 26, 2017. The bodies of 25 people, including 17 members of a single family, were pulled from the mud on July 26 as the death toll from major flooding in India climbed towards 120, an official said. / AFP PHOTO / SAM PANTHAKY

The bodies of 25 people, including 17 members of a single family, were pulled from the mud Wednesday as the death toll from major flooding in India climbed towards 120, an official said.

Authorities found the bodies in two villages in hard-hit Banaskantha district, Gujarat, as floodwaters receded, said assistant superintendent of police Aksharaj Makwana.

“In all 25 bodies were fished out from two villages on the bank of Banas river,” he told AFP.

Local police said earlier 17 of the dead found in Kharia village were from one family.

A senior Gujarati government official, Pankaj Kumar, said 2655 stranded villagers had been rescued from Banaskantha district, with at least 260 airlifted to safey by India’s Air Force.

Gujarat’s state emergency authority said Wednesday at least 12 other bodies were found overnight as rescue crews sifted through communities devastated by heavy monsoon flooding.

The official death toll from the floods in India’s westernmost state stands at 119, with more than 36,000 people evacuated to safe areas as helicopters and boats try to reach those still stranded.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi surveyed the devastation across Gujarat from the skies Tuesday, urging people across his home state to remain resilient.

Apart from Gujarat, the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have been hard-hit by monsoon flooding, while pockets of the eastern states of Odisha and Bihar have also been affected.

In Assam at least 75 people have been killed and a state-wide emergency relief operation has been underway since April. Tens of thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed.

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