Torrential monsoons have wrought havoc in Northern India this week, triggering cloudbursts, landslides and deadly floods.

Here, an idol of Hindu Lord Shiva in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand is nearly swallowed whole by the formidable floodwaters of the Ganges river, long since overwhelmed by the relentless rains. It is awesome, in the truest, most daunting sense of the word.


Photo Credit: AP

A second photograph of the statue (seen here on Google Maps), taken in March of this year, helps contextualize the extent of the flooding:


Photo by Alicia Williams, via

As of this posting, the rains have claimed over 150 lives and left some 50,000 stranded. Fortunately, rescue efforts have been effective – at least to the extent that infrastructure has made rescue possible. Via The New York Times:

Despite incessant rain and landslides, 33, 192 pilgrims had been rescued as of Thursday, according to a home ministry press release.

The Indian Army has been sent to help with the rescue operations, but the evacuation of pilgrims has been hobbled by the destruction of roads and the lack of safe landing pads for helicopters.

The prime minister announced on Thursday that 200,000 rupees (or about $3,350) would be provided to families of those who died in the floods and 50,000 rupees for the injured. He also announced federal assistance of 10 billion rupees for the state. β€œThe immediate need is for rescue and relief operations, and the government will not spare any effort in this regard,” Mr. Singh said in a television broadcast.


More here.