Bengal flood situation grim in Midnapore, death toll 33


Kolkata : Despite marginal improvement in the overall flood situation in southern West Bengal, the condition remained grim in West Midnapore district where rescue efforts are still on even as death toll in the past week touched 33 Sunday.

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Reports from West Midnapore said vast areas of Ghatal, Sabang, Pingla, Datan and Jhargram reeled under waters even as the relief operations continued.

Ghatal, which is completely submerged, is one of the worst affected areas because of it bowl-shaped geographical location. Rescue operation by army continued in the area.

In Kolkata, at state secretariat Writers' Buildings, Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta said about 4.7 million people were affected in the floods and heavy rains for the past five days while about 51,000 people were given shelter in 361 relief camps across south Bengal.

Claiming that the overall situation has improved, he said a total of Rs.150 million was disbursed to offer relief so far.

In East Midnapore district too, areas like Panskura and Patashpur are affected.

In Hooghly district, Khanakul continued to remain under water while at Arambagh, flood victims staged agitation over faulty relief distribution.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya Saturday toured the worst hit West Midnapore district and held meetings with officials on providing aid to the homeless.

Admitting that relief material for the displaced was not enough, he promised to scale up operations.

"Rain has stopped but the situation is grim in many places, especially at Ghatal, Sabang and Datan in West Midnapore. Relief material provided so far is not adequate. I am going back to Kolkata and sending more relief, including dry food and rice, immediately," Bhattacharya told reporters in Midnapore Saturday.

"We will airdrop food from helicopters in affected regions. We are trying to rescue people and deliver medicines," he said.

The flood situation in Bankura, Howrah, Burdwan and Purulia districts improved marginally.