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Monsoon Claims 140 Lives in Pakistan


Pakistan says flash floods caused by monsoon rains have killed more than 140 people so far, including 40 in the city of Mardan where a bridge collapsed Saturday into a swollen river.

Officials say the worst hit are five districts of North West Frontier Province, including two which were badly damaged by last year's devastated earthquake.

In India, relief workers in several states are stepping up efforts to reach tens of thousands of stranded people, as floods claimed more than 20 lives overnight.

In western Gujarat state, authorities evacuated about 30,000 people to higher ground after the Tapti river burst its banks.

In neighboring Maharashtra state, army helicopters were dropping food supplies to those stranded, while soldiers and emergency workers mounted rescue operations.

Hundreds of thousands of people have also been displaced and some 80 people were killed in the past four days in southeastern Andhra Pradesh state.

The monsoon rains sweep South Asia every year from June to September. They bring misery to millions of people, but are also crucial for the region's farm-dependent economy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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