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81 killed by early monsoon rains

Heavy early monsoon rains have killed at least 81 people in India's western Gujarat state, with thousands more forced to flee their homes due to flooding.

Ridhi Butt, a National Disaster Response Force official, said 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 struck.

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

The monsoon rains have arrived days ahead of schedule in western and northern parts of India.

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