In India, as monsoon floods reach their peak, the rescue and relief operations continue. There?
In India, as monsoon floods reach their peak, the rescue and relief operations continue. There are signs that the flood waters are beginning to subside, and the task now is to feed, house and give medical attention to the millions of people affected by some of the heaviest monsoon rains to strike Northern India.
SYNOPSIS: The Jamuna River has swollen to a lake, that spreads 20 miles (30 kms) across at some points. The Jamuna Bridge is practically engulfed by the flood water, which now stretches in a wide belt from the Pakistan border to the Bay of Bengal. Some people in Delhi have been marooned and forced to find tall buildings near their homes to take refuge on until they can find their way to refugee camps.
There have been calls for boats to rescue stranded people. But many took to makeshift rafts with as many belongings as they could carry.
In Delhi, more than half a million people had been evacuated by the time the flood waters reached their homes. Only when the waters subside will it be possible to tell the loss of life.
At this relief camp near Delhi, food and medical aid is being distributed by volunteers. But in other less fortunate parts of the flood stricken countryside, relief measures have come in for strong criticism. Angry flood victims seized a train in one incident, and there have been protests in several towns. There have been appeals to the outside world for dry food, medicine and kerosene because the relief stocks in many areas have been exhausted. Troops worked non-stop for two days to evacuate the inhabitants of this camp to safety.
For many of those who left the city for the safety of the refugee camps, there was a new danger to contend with. Medical personnel were warning of an outbreak of cholera or dysentery, as supplies of drinking water became polluted by the flood waters. The medical staff were treating some people who had been without food and water for periods of up to three days.
In the village of Garbetta in the Midaporte district of West Bengal, doctors worked to inoculate the population at relief camps against cholera and dysentery. The flooding in this area has assumed dimensions of a major tragedy, with reports by survivors that they had seen hundreds of bodies. Roads have been completely cut off as a result of the flooding.
Reports from this region say that nearly every house has been submerged, and hundreds of men, women and children are missing. Airforce planes were trying to drop food packets to people stranded on roof-tops. The only good news is that the flood waters have reached their peak and are starting to subside.