Indian flood disaster widens: 40 dead, millions stranded

Widespread flooding in India was worsening on Tuesday, as several rivers, including the Ganges, rose above their danger mark and threatened to inundate further areas, officials and news reports said.

The national death toll passed 40, with the highest number of deaths occurring in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, broadcaster NDTV reported.

The National Disaster Response Force had over 60 teams working around-the-clock in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in massive relief and rescue operations, the organization's chief O P Singh said. Over 26,000 people had been rescued.

After a decade of drought, Uttar Pradesh's Bundelkhand region was now grappling with floods, NDTV reported.

In one part of the region, a woman delivered a baby on a boat while she was being rescued from her marooned village.

As the Ganges overflowed, major cities like Varanasi, Allahabad and Patna were also inundated.

In the holy city of Varanasi, television footage showed water reaching halfway up the first floors of temples and buildings along the famous steps on the Ganges riverbank.

In Bihar's Chapra district, roads were flooded and people were seen wading and swimming to higher ground.

The death toll since the monsoon rains began was now above 200, an official at the National Disaster Management Authority control room said.

The worst-affected states were Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

India's monsoon season between June and September often sees heavy rains that are vital for agriculture but cause immense destruction.

Last update: Tue, 23/08/2016 - 10:26
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