Flood situation in Bengal displaces over 3L people from their homes

Incessant rains last week coupled with huge volumes of water from the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) have led to flood-like situation in seven districts of West Bengal, leaving at least 8 dead and displacing over 3 lakh people from their homes in the last four days.

Though the NDRF and the Indian Air Force have been pressed into action, the situation is still grim in the state.

According to senior state government officials, incessant rains for four days last week have led to flood-like situation in the lower catchment area of Damodar valley, forcing the DVC to release water which led to the rise of water-level in different rivers like Rupnarayan, Gandheshwari, Darakeshwar and Keleghai, flooding several villages in the districts of East Bardhaman, West Bardhaman, West Medinipur, Hooghly, Howrah and South and North 24 Parganas.

The situation is such that the state government had to seek the help of Indian Air Force, and from Monday onwards, two IAF helicopters were pressed into action.

The Army and the Air Force on Monday undertook rescue and relief operations in Hooghly district, where many areas have been submerged due to excess rainfall and overflowing of rivers.

Several areas in East Bardhaman, West Bardhaman, West Medinipur, Hooghly, Howrah and South 24 Parganas districts are reeling under flood, with people struggling to wade through waist-deep water.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed the ministers to keep a tab on the rescue operations and see that relief materials reach all the affected people.

Over one lakh tarpaulin, 1,000 MT of rice, thousands of drinking water pouches and clean clothes have been sent to the rescue shelters for those affected, an official stated.

“We have not yet estimated the loss incurred due to the floods. As of now, our sole priority is to rescue the affected people,” a senior state government official said.

Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, who visited the flood-hit areas in Ghatal in West Medinipur district on Monday, said that he would apprise the Chief Minister of the situation, and steps would be taken accordingly to tackle the situation.

“I have witnessed several floods in the past, but the situation is terrible this time. The CM had asked me to look into the matter. After conducting the survey, I will report to her,” Mukherjee said.

“At least one lakh people have been moved to safety in Hooghly district alone after their houses were damaged. There are several others who are still stranded on the roofs of their homes or on elevated structures,” he said, adding that the NDRF personnel are working to rescue them.

Choppers have dropped emergency food supplies in the affected areas.

“Helicopters of the Indian Air Force rescued 31 people from rooftops and brought them to Arambagh,” he added.

One flood-relief column of the Army was deployed at Dhanyaghari in Hooghly, the official said.

Meanwhile, a DVC official said that water was last discharged from its dams on July 31.