India steps up relief efforts as floods hit hundreds of thousands
INDIA: Fifty-five people were reported killed by flooding in
India as relief workers moved thousands marooned by heavy monsoon rains
to higher ground.
Authorities raced to shift some 30,000 people when the city of Surat
in the western coastal state of Gujarat was flooded after the Tapti
river burst its banks, local officials said.
Schools in the Gujarati city of Vadodara were closed after a high
alert was sounded when the water level of the nearby Ajwa lake rose to
danger point, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
The situation in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, which was
thrown into chaos at the weekend by lashing monsoon showers, eased
Monday when the rains stopped, officials said.
However, the state's main Godavari river and its tributaries were
flowing over the danger mark due to rain in neighbouring states, Andhra
Pradesh's additional commissioner for relief, Priyadarshini, told AFP.
More than 100,000 people had been evacuated to relief camps, she
In western Maharashtra state, heavy downpours continued to cripple
normal life, officials said, with at least 50,000 people marooned.
Helicopters were dropping food supplies to those stranded while
soldiers and local emergency workers using boats mounted rescue
Relief work was under way in 15 of Maharashtra's 35 districts, said
state relief and rehabilitation secretary Bhupati Pandey.
"The biggest concern is taking people out of these areas during these
torrential rains... but the situation is under control at the moment,"
Twenty people had died in rain-related incidents overnight, he said.
In the Himalayan region of Kashmir, incessant rains caused landslides
and house collapses, killing two people, officials said.
In Kashmir's Buddhist-dominated Leh region, at least 15 people were
killed in flash floods and 25 villages were cut off by floodwaters with
the Indian army called in to help, reports said.
The frontier region was cut off for a fifth day as roads leading out
of the area were closed, PTI said. With water levels in the region's
main river Jhelum rising, Altaf Baba, an engineer in the state's flood
department, said officials had been put on a state of alert.
In the central state of Chattisgarh, eight people were killed and 100
people were missing due to floods, the NDTV news channel reported.
Andhra pradesh hit by heavy monsoon rains reported 30 more deaths
over the past five days, as soldiers and helicopters helped to rescue
Said he spoke with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who agreed to his
request to send soldiers as hundreds of villages were submerged in
In the neighboring state of Orissa, two people were washed away in
floods and two people were killed by collapsing walls, PTI said.
The latest deaths took a nationwide death toll linked to the annual
monsoon rains since mid-May to 497, 117 of them in the past week alone,
according to an AFP tally.
Meanwhile Flash floods caused by torrential monsoon rain in northwest
Pakistan have claimed 144 lives, including dozens killed when a bridge
collapsed into a river, a government official said Monday.
The first death was on July 26 when rain started lashing North West
Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, provincial relief commissioner
Fazle Rabbi said.
Another 93 people were injured in rain-related incidents, the
official said in a statement.
Some 16,000 mud-brick houses were destroyed or damaged by flooding in
several districts, including 12,000 in the badly hit district of Mardan
northeast of the provincial capital Peshawar.
A bridge collapsed in Mardan on Saturday and the swollen river below
swept 41 people to their deaths.
Another 40 people were killed mostly by roof collapses,
electrocutions or drowning in central Punjab province last week.
Mumbai, Peshawar, Tuesday, AFP, AP