It is more than a week since the combined forces of a cyclone and tidal wave devastated the Andhra Prakesh state in south east India.
It is more than a week since the combined forces of a cyclone and tidal wave devastated the Andhra Prakesh state in south east India. Until a few days ago, many victims had not received any aid. The Congress Party, which governs the state, has been accused of mishandling the relief operation. In turn, it has accused the ruling Government's Janata Party of offering plenty of criticism but little practical assistance.
SYNOPSIS: Indian villagers are calling it the day 'the sea stormed the land', and the countryside carries the marks of India's worst cyclone for a century. A tidal wave, accompanied by a strong cyclone, had swept as far as 10 miles inland. In some areas flood waters will take a long time to recede.
This area, in the Guntur district near the Krishna River, was one of the hardest-hit by the disaster. Thousands of people were left homeless after their mud and thatch huts were destroyed, and some waited several days before receiving food drops by air. Relief teams have now reached the area and people are being given daily rations of rice.
People also have to queue for drinking water. Although there is plenty of water around, most of it has been contaminated and authorities are afraid it may bring cholera and infective hepatitis.
The cyclone and tidal wave wiped out one and a half million acres of crops in the state's most fertile area, leaving a long-term setback. The tidal wave salinated 50 square miles, and it will take three years to wash away the salt before rice can be planted again.
The official death toll stands at 8,000, but it could be higher when final figures are released. Meanwhile, relief workers face the mammoth task of providing food and shelter for about two million homeless people.