monsoon damage
© Reuters / Jignesh Mistry
Damaged vehicles are seen following heavy rains in Pune, India, September 26, 2019.
At least 59 people have been killed this week alone after an "unprecedented" level of monsoon downpours in northern India, according to an official.

Most of the fatalities were caused by house collapses, lightning strikes and by drowning in heavy floods in the state of Uttar Pradesh. At least five people were killed by snake bites in flooded areas, said Sandhaya Kureel, a spokeswoman of the Disaster Management and Relief Department.

The temple city of Varanasi was battered by 19 centimeters (seven inches) of rain on Thursday and Friday. While nearly 3,000 people were moved to higher ground due to flooding in Pune city and neighboring areas in what the Maharashtra state chief minister called an "unprecedented storm".

"Last night in Pune there was a lot of heavy rain that developed into an unprecedented storm," said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

"Because of this, a large amount of water entered low-lying areas and caused a lot of damage. There is the possibility that some people were swept away and some people were killed after a wall collapsed over there," he added.

The rain is expected to subside after Monday, according to the director of the state Meteorological Department, JP Gupta. During this monsoon season, which runs from June to September, more than 350 people have been killed by rain-related causes in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, reports Reuters.