The Heat Is Online

India Floods Displace 200,000 People


163 die in India's monsoon in 4 days

Authorities rush to rescue hundreds of thousands trapped in their homes


The Associated Press, Sept. 23, 2008

 LUCKNOW, India - Heavy rains continued to lash northern and eastern India with 44 people reported killed over the past 24 hours as authorities rushed Tuesday to rescue hundreds of thousands trapped in their homes.

 The latest reported deaths brought the toll of those killed by monsoon flooding to 163 over the last four days.

 Most of the dead were from India's most populous northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where 32 people were killed by drowning, house collapses and electrocution since Monday, as most rivers in the state spilled their banks, state relief commissioner G.K. Tandon said Tuesday.

 Another 70 people were killed over the weekend in the state and floods forced 200,000 people to flee their homes, Tandon said. The state government set up more than 2,000 relief camps across Uttar Pradesh to house the flood survivors.

 In eastern Orissa state, the death toll over the last four days from heavy rains and flooding rose to 29 Tuesday morning, said chief secretary Ajit Kumar Tripathi. On Monday 17 people were reported to have died.

 Authorities evacuated nearly 285,000 people since Friday and put them in 261 state-run relief camps, Tripathi told The Associated Press. Officials were trying to reach an addition 200,000 stranded villagers.

 More rain expected

 More rain is expected over the next few days and the state government has called in help from the Indian navy, Tripathi said, adding about 650 villages were inundated.

 Three Indian air force helicopters were dropping food packages to stranded villagers and 1,300 motor and row boats were rescuing people in the worst hit districts.

 Incessant monsoon precipitation caused the Mahanadi river to breach its banks in several places, causing the worst flooding in 26 years in Orissa state.

 Another 32 people died in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh over the weekend, most buried by mudslides triggered by heavy rains, news reports said.

The latest floods came just a month after the monsoon-swollen Kosi river, a Ganges tributary that flows from Nepal to India, burst its banks and submerged nearly 1,000 villages in the impoverished northern Indian state of Bihar, killing at least 48 people and driving more than 1 million others from their homes.

 The annual monsoon season, which runs from June to September, brings rains that are vital to agriculture in South Asia but also can cause massive destruction.

 Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

135 feared dead in India flooding, Sept. 22, 2008

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- At least 135 people have died in the last two days in India as a result of flooding, bringing the death toll in monsoon floods to 2,364 since June, according to disaster-management officials in India.

The deaths this weekend happened in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa and Uttaranchal, according to a report from the Disaster Management Division of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs.

Eight-two people died in Uttar Pradesh, 34 died in Himachal Pradesh and 17 lost their lives in Orissa and two died in Uttaranchal, authorities said.

In the eastern state of Orissa, about 65 embankments have been breached, said G.V. Venugopala Sarma, the commissioner and secretary of Orissa's revenue and disaster management department.

Authorities are using motor boats and military helicopters for rescue and have set up 261 relief camps in the state.

Sarma described the next two days as critical for rescue.


Floods Kill 16, Displace 200,000 in India's East, Sept. 22, 2008


BHUBANESWAR, India - Rescue workers evacuated some 200,000 people after flooding by one of India's largest rivers killed 16 people at the weekend, officials said on Sunday.


Large parts of the coastal Orissa state were inundated after authorities were forced to open dozens of sluice gates of a dam on the Mahanadi river following heavy rain in the catchment area.


"At least 200,000 people were evacuated from their homes and moved to safer places," G.V. Venugopala Sarma, a revenue official, told Reuters. He said more people were being moved.


TV stations showed people fleeing the floods with whatever they could carry. Some took shelter on roads and inside school buildings.

Most of the deaths were caused by drowning.


The river had breached its banks in several places and floodwaters had swept away highways in some areas.


Monsoon rains and flooded rivers have brought huge devastation across South Asia this year, killing more than 1100 people, mostly in India.


The Kosi river, which burst a dam in Nepal, has heaped massive suffering on millions of people in downstream Bihar state in India. Water levels were now receding there.


But millions were now living on embankments, roads and in overcrowded camps in filthy conditions, exposing them to infections and water-borne diseases, aid agencies say.

In Orissa, the government was using helicopters to drop food and water packets.


Authorities warned of more floods in the state's coastal belt once more water is released from the Hirakud dam on the Mahanadi.


The floods in Bihar, the worst there in 50 years, destroyed 100,000 ha (250,000 acres) of farmlands. Rice crop in Orissa had also been damaged.


The monsoon usually hits India on June 1 and retreats in September, and is key to irrigating some 60 percent of farmland. But it leaves in its wake massive destruction, killing hundreds of people, destroying homes, crops, roads and bridges every year.