Torrential rains accompanied by lightning have killed at least 77 people in India's southern and eastern states over the past four days, news reports and officials said yesterday.

The southern state of Andhra Pradesh is the worst-hit with 43 dead, officials told the Hindu newspaper. Nineteen people were hit by lightning and the others were killed when their houses collapsed or by drowning.

A low-pressure system near the coastal areas of the state brought heavy rains which led to overflowing rivers that inundated hundreds of villages and crop land in seven districts.

Administrative officials said an estimated 20,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas to relief camps and road traffic was disrupted at several places in the state.

Heavy rains in the neighbouring state of Karnataka killed 19 people since Monday and scores of people were evacuated as state authorities pressed helicopters into rescue operations.

The regional weather office has forecast more rain in the two southern states through tomorrow.

Meanwhile, 15 more deaths were reported in rain-related incidents in the eastern state of Bihar since Wednesday, officials in the National Disaster Management said.

According to the Bihar government, more than 22.5mn people in nearly 10,810 villages have been hit by the state's worst flooding in more than 30 years.

Crops, houses and public property worth more than Rs8.4bn has been destroyed by overflowing rivers and heavy rain, officials added.

Since monsoon season began in June in India, 2,827 people have been killed, emergency officials said, pointing out that the floods have been more devastating this year compared to 2006, when about 1,000 people died.

Floods brought on by the monsoon season that lasts through September leave a trail of destruction across India, washing away villages, drowning livestock, and causing extensive loss of human life and property.