Bengal flood situation remains grim, death toll 69

Bengal flood situation remains grim, death toll 69
With fresh discharge of water from the barrages and continuing high tide, the flood situation in south Bengal remained grim today as the death toll mounted to 69 while 3.63 lakh people took shelter in 2,213 relief camps in 12 affected districts.

Twenty-one fresh deaths were reported today from the affected districts, taking the toll to 69, Disaster Management Department sources said adding that incidents lightening, wall collapse, electrocution, snake bite and drowning were to blame for the fatalities.

"Altogether 2,213 relief camps have been set up to shelter over 3.63 lakh marooned people and 461 medical camps opened," the sources said adding that the total number of affected people was nearly 52 lakh.

The sources said that 55,899 houses were damaged and 2,72,488 houses were destroyed partly. Crop over an area of 5,18,173 hectares was damaged due to the floods.

State Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said, "Even though there was reduced rainfall today, the situation remained unchanged in Burdwan, Hooghly, Howrah, West Midnapore and East Midnapore districts because of fresh release of water following heavy rains in upper catchment areas."

The districts of South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura and Birbhum were the other badly affected regions, he said.

"The situation remained unchanged in the affected districts mainly because of high tide and release of water from different barrages. However, the situation is likely to improve after the discharge of water from the barrages is controlled," Rajib Banerjee said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reviewed the latest flood situation in a meeting with senior officials at the state secretariat.

Last night, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had spoken to the CM over phone enquiring about the latest flood situation.

The chief minister, who stayed at the state secretariat overnight to personally monitor the flood situation, today visited the affected areas at Asoknagar and Habra in North 24-Parganas district and distributed relief materials among the marooned.

Banerjee instructed a number of ministers and senior officials to visit the affected areas and supervise relief arrangement.

She said there should not be any politics in the distribution of relief and promised that her government would extend all help, asking opposition parties not to indulge in politics over relief distribution.

The Chief Minister had earlier instructed the officials to monitor the situation round-the-clock and take prompt appropriate steps.

Meanwhile, an IMD Kolkata issued a release hinting at improved weather condition in South Bengal. However, heavy rain would likely to occur at isolated places over sub- Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim.

On Wednesday also, heavy rainfall is predicted at isolated places in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim. A report from Nadia district said the world-famous ISKCON Temple in Mayapur was flooded. The temple where the kirtan takes place is under water.

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