Monsoon rains kill 81 in India
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Monsoon rains kill 81 in India

NEW DELHI (AP) — Heavy early monsoon rains have killed at least 81 people in India’s western Gujarat state, bringing misery to thousands of people uprooted from their flooded homes.

Ridhi Butt, a National Disaster Response Force official, says nearly 9,000 people have been evacuated to higher ground in the worst-hit Amreli, Rajkot and Bhavnagar districts of Gujarat, which had been suffering from a drought before the rains hit.

Butt said Friday that most of the deaths occurred when people were swept away by flood waters and mudslides, or buried in collapsed houses.

The monsoon rains arrived days ahead of schedule in western and northern parts of India, raising hopes the annual rains may not be as scanty as predicted earlier by the India Meteorological Department.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban has warned it will target the country’s main electrical company if it does not end power outages in the country’s south — where an intense heat wave has killed 860 people in the past week.

Mohammad Khurasani, in a statement released Friday, expressed grief over the heat-related deaths in the southern port city of Karachi. The chronic power cuts in the midst of a record heat wave have also caused public protests in Karachi.

Khurasani’s group, known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, has been fighting to overthrow the Pakistani government and install their own harsh brand of Islamic law.

Temperatures in the south began to drop on Thursday, fueling hopes that the worst of the heat wave has passed.