From: Associated Press
Published July 1, 2005 12:00 AM

140,000 People Flee Flooded Homes as Heavy Monsoon Rains Lash Eastern India

BHUBANESWAR, India — Heavy monsoon downpours lashed eastern India on Thursday, submerging vast areas in the eastern state of Orissa and forcing around 140,000 people to flee their homes and move to higher ground.


The rain-swollen Baitarani River and its tributaries overflowed their banks after two days of uninterrupted rain earlier this week, said state revenue minister Manmohan Samal.


Residents of 220 villages in Orissa have fled their homes, taking shelter in school and government buildings on higher ground to escape the rising waters, Samal said.


Samal said at least one person was washed away by the swirling flood waters and vast tracts of farmlands and roads were submerged in three districts of the state.


The state government has arranged to supply food and medicine to those who fled their homes, he said.


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Widespread flooding was also reported in many parts of western India, where at least 23 people have died after three days of heavy monsoon rains. Some were swept away by flood waters, while others were killed in collapsing homes.


In the state of Gujarat, army soldiers were evacuating people marooned on the roofs of their houses after heavy rains inundated hundreds of houses in the cities of Surat, Vadodara and Anand, the private New Delhi Television said.


At last 15,000 people were evacuated in Vadodara.


The meteorological department has forecast heavy rains for the next 48 hours.


India's monsoon season begins in June and continues until the end of September.


Source: Associated Press


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