India's Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, made an aerial inspection of flood damage in the?
India's Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, made an aerial inspection of flood damage in the eastern state of Bihar on Thursday (28 August). The floods, caused by the yearly monsoon, started earlier this week and are the worst in the state's history.
Vast areas of fertile land are still under water and in Patna, Bihar's capital, three-quarters of the city is flooded and about half a million people homeless.
Although no deaths have yet been reported, officials are worried that disease may break out because of the failure of all public facilities.
As Patna's airport is under water and all rail and road links are still cut Mrs. Gandhi's plane wasn't able to land to enable her to get a closer look at the damage and her flight to Orissa, where forty three died in floods, was cancelled because of bad weather.
When the plane stopped to refuel at Benaras an enthusiastic crowd met Mrs. Gandhi and presented her with garlands of flowers. While massive relief efforts are underway monsoon clouds are still covering most of northern India and more rain and flooding is predicted.
SYNOPSIS: On Thursday India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi made an aerial inspection of vast areas of the eastern state of Bihar devastated by floods caused by monsoon rains earlier in the week. Air Chief Marshal Mehra accompanied Mrs. Gandhi on the flight and pointed out the worst hit areas. In Patna about three-quarters of the city is still under water and nearly half a million are homeless.
Most of the fertile land in the state is waterlogged and crops ruined. Although no deaths have been reported yet authorities are worried that epidemics could break out in Patna and smaller towns because of the breakdown of all public facilities. On Thursday Mrs. Gandhi was to have also flown over Orissa which is also under water and where forty-three people died in the floods. However bad weather cancelled out her inspection. With massive relief efforts under way the end of the floods is not in sight as most of northern India is still covered with monsoon clouds and further rains and flooding is expected.
When Mrs. Gandhi's plane touched down at Benaras to refuel she was met on the tarmac by an enthusiastic crowd of admirers and city officials who presented her with bouquets and garlands of flowers.