UP flood toll at 28; more than 1,000 villages hit

UP flood toll at 28; more than 1,000 villages hit
Twenty-eight persons have died so far in Uttar Pradesh in floods which have hit the state with several rivers flowing above the danger mark and posing a threat to more than 1,000 villages in the affected districts.

"Floods have so far claimed 28 lives with nine districts of the state being affected by the crisis. Relief and rescue operations have been launched (in these areas). "In all, around 1,000 to 1,500 villages have been affected by the floods," Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan told reporters here.

The affected districts are Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Lakhimpur, Barabanki, Sitapur, Faizabad and Azamgarh.

"A round-the-clock vigil is being maintained. Although the army has not been called in, it has been informed that its help may be required," he added. Ranjan said that the worst hit is Bahraich where 202 villages have been affected by floods and 14 lives lost so far.

"As requested, an NDRF team is working in Bahraich. For villages in the interior, we have requested two helicopters from the army for rescue and relief work," he said.

Ranjan said that although the water level was receding in Shravasti district, 117 villages in two tehsils, involving a total population of 60,000 people, has been affected by the floods. There have been two deaths in the district due to the floods, according to the district magistrate.

Ranjan said that the water level has increased in Balrampur district where a close vigil is being maintained.

"Here 76 villages in three tehsils have been affected and one loss of life reported," he said. While seven deaths were reported in Lakhimpur, including in a boat tragedy, four deaths were reported from Sitapur, Ranjan added.

In New Delhi, the Ministry of Water Resources said in a statement that the Rapti in Balrampur district of UP was flowing at 104.62m -- 0.63m above danger mark. The record for water level in the river was 105.25m on September 11, 2000.

According to a Central Water Commission report, after rising menacingly in Kakardhari and Bhinga yesterday, the Rapti has crossed the maximum level in Balrampur and is still rising. 

The Rapti apart, water levels have also risen in the Ghaghra and Saryu rivers. Rising water levels has hit road and rail traffic and Shashtra Seema Bal and PAC jawans have been deployed to evacuate people affected by the floods.

According to a Central Water Commission report, after rising menacingly in Kakardhari and Bhinga yesterday, the Rapti has crossed the maximum level in Balrampur and is still rising.

The Ghaghra is still flowing near danger level at Elgin Bridge in Ayodhya while the Sharda at Paliakalan and the Ghaghra at Ayodhya were flowing above the danger mark.

According to reports in Bahraich, floods in the Bhada, Kaudiyala and Gerua rivers in Nepal led to a rise in the water levels of the Ghaghra and Saryu in Bahraich and Rapti in Shravasti yesterday.

Around 250 houses collapsed in Nanpara and Mahsi tehsils of Bahraich, where 2.5 lakh people in 546 hamlets of 103 villages have been affected by the floods.

According to a report from Balrampur, all three tehsils of the district -- Tulsipur, Balrampur, Utraula -- have been affected by the floods. The Balrampur-Badni National Highway is inundated and has been closed.

Additional district magistrate Keshav Das said that SSB and PAC personnel have been deployed for relief and rescue work, for which four steamers are being used.

A report from Lakhimpur says that around 60 villages in Dharaura tehsil have been marooned with the locals having taken shelter in a school in Manjha Sumali village. Tehsildar Ashok Kumar Yadav said that an NDRF team has been deployed for relief work.

Meanwhile, expressing concern over the flood situation in UP, Bihar and Assam, BJP President Amit Shah has asked the party's MPs, leaders and workers in these states to contribute in flood relief measures.

Shah has talked to the BJP units in these states and asked them to immediately start flood relief work. He also extended condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the floods.

Earlier, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Centre would extend full cooperation to UP in tackling floods.

"Not only Uttar Pradesh, wherever the problem of floods is being faced, full cooperation will be extended. Directives have been issued for sending teams of NDRF (to the affected areas)," Singh told reporters.
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