17 persons die as heavy rains batter Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal, Aug 20 (IANS) Seventeen people have died across Madhya Pradesh in the devastation caused by three days of continuous rain and resultant floods, including building collapses in Sagar and Satna districts, officials said on Saturday.

The authorities have enlisted the help of the army and called for helicopters to be used for rescuing people marooned by floods.

The deaths in the last 24 hours include seven in Sagar district, two in Katni, two in Satna, three in Chattarpur and three in Raisen.

Rescue work is underway on a war footing in Riwa, Satna and Katni.

In Satna, 4,215 people were rescued even as the Tamas, Simrawal and Chhoti Tamas rivers that flow through the district witnessed raised water levels.

As many as 550 persons have been rescued in Riwa town and another 1,000 in Java and Teothar tehsils. In Riwa, 1,500 persons were rescued and another 144 in Panna district.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the bereaved families.

Chouhan held a meeting on Saturday with state officers to review the situation and instructed that waters from dams in affected areas should not be realeased all of a sudden and people living downstream should be alerted beforehand.

He said three teams of the National Disaster Response Force and 12 of the State Disaster Response Force were involved in the rescue and relief operations in the affected areas.

Seven members of an artisan’s family died and three were seriously injured early on Saturday in Baniyani Ghat area of Rahatgarh in Sagar district when their house collapsed due to continuous rain, police said.

The collapse resulted in the death of Manu Rani (55), Vikas (18), Vipin (13), Sanjana (10), Kallu (30), Sarla (25) and Tamanna, who was one-and-a-half-years old.

The three injured are in a serious condition in a hospital.

In Maihar town in Satna district, a newly built, three-storey building with construction workers’ families living in it, collapsed amid heavy rain, burying many people under the rubble, police said.

Four people have so far been pulled out of the debris; many more are feared trapped and efforts are being made to rescue them, the police said.

The building was being constructed by the Madhya Pradesh Housing Board, a state government agency.

Chief Minister Chouhan met reporters here and discussed the situation brought about by the rain and floods. He confirmed the incident in Satna and said a rescue and relief operation was underway.

Rescue operations are also underway elsewhere in Satna, Rewa, Panna and other districts to save people trapped by floods, Chouhan said.

The government has also been setting up relief camps in safer places for people in flood-hit areas to find shelter in, he said.

–IANS

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