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Monsoon flooding kills 16 in eastern India (AP)

BHUBANESHWAR, India – Heavy rains and flooding have killed at least 16 people in eastern India and left nearly 100,000 others homeless, an official said Monday.

Incessant rains have hit the coastal and western parts of Orissa state for 10 days and nearly 2,800 villages have been affected, said S.N. Patra, the minister in charge of disaster management.

The rain stopped in most areas by Sunday evening, but the region's main river, the Mahanadi, remained over the danger mark on Monday and about 800 villages were still cut off, Patra said.

He said the government has set up about 180 relief camps and army helicopters were dropping food and water packets for people stranded in remote villages.

The loss to crops and property is still being assessed, he said.

Patra said the deaths occurred over the last four days.

India's monsoon season, which runs from June through September, brings rains that are vital to agriculture but can also cause massive destruction.

Flooding, landslides and other rain-related events kill thousands of people each year.


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