Troops are helping to evacuate tens of thousands of people in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh as calamitous floodwaters continue to inundate towns.
Troops are helping to evacuate tens of thousands of people in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh as calamitous floodwaters continue to inundate towns. The main threat is concentrated on the Hindu holy cities of Varanasi (Benares) and Allahabad. But at least 20 other towns have been flooded and authorities say that as the waters recede in one area, another is submerged. The flooding is claimed to be India's worst this century, fitting into a 20-year cycle in which -- since 1878 -- floods have been followed by serious droughts.
SYNOPSIS: In Agra, the gardens of the Taj Mahal were submerged but the monument itself is not in danger, though closed to the public.
Another famous building affected is the Red Ford of Agra, now ten feet deep in water. And the city's waterworks, ironically, are out of action.
Most of the cities along the Jamuna and Ganges rivers faced a second surge of floodwaters at the weekend and authorities predicted that relief action might have to continue for some weeks. Troops were finding it difficult to move in supplies to the thousands of people marooned in the stat. Vegetables, candles and bread are the main goods being delivered by air force helicopters. People in unaffected cities elsewhere in India are being asked not to eat bread -- but to leave it for distribution to the flood victims.
Only a skeleton rail service is running between northern and eastern India after flood damage forced the suspension of more than 400 goods and passenger trains. Railway staff worked around the clock to repair damage quickly. Main highways out of Delhi have also been seriously eroded by the waters.
University students volunteered to start a collection in Delhi to build up flood relief funds. The latest deluge has claimed many homes and several more lives but the official death toll of 613 has yet to be updated.