India: At least 30 dead or missing from floods

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At least 30 people have been killed or are missing after flash floods hit southern India, media reported today, noting that three buses were swept away by torrential rain.

Rescue crews collected about 12 bodies from three buses that were swept away yesterday, Friday, from the waters in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The fate of at least 18 people is still unknown, according to The NewsMinute news website.

The increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather conditions that have hit southern Asia in recent years are being caused by climate change and are exacerbated by deforestation, dams and overgrowth, experts say.

Dozens of people have been killed in India since October by floods and landslides caused by heavy rains, and meteorologists say torrential rains are expected in several parts of the south today.

At least 42 people were killed last month in heavy rains that hit Kerala.

Yesterday the authorities of this state banned access to the temple of Samparimala, one of the holiest of Hinduism, due to heavy rains.

Since last week, hundreds of worshipers have flocked to Samparimala every day as part of a two-month annual pilgrimage.

Rising water levels in the Pampa River, which is considered sacred, have forced authorities to ban worshipers from going there for a day, the Hindustan Times reported today.

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