While heavy rain has been forecast, rivers are flowing below danger level
Kolkata: The death toll in floods in West Bengal has risen to 27, with 18 people dying in the worst-affected Paschim Medinipur and the others in Purba Medinipur.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee held a review meeting at the Secretariat here on Saturday. Minister for Relief Mortaza Hussain, who attended the meeting, said that over the past week West Bengal received 750 mm of rain, which was 75 per cent of its annual precipitation.
“The situation was now a little more under control.” While further heavy rainfall was forecast, at least for now rivers were flowing below the danger level.
The rivers in spate washed away cars and the rail track caved in on major stretches, snapping rail link between the south and the east. Many trains on the South Eastern Railway continued to remain cancelled.
Mr Hossain said four columns of army personnel were assisting in relief operations although airdropping of foods packets and other materials was stopped. In the two districts in Medinipur, 27 lakh people in 32 blocks were affected.
As many as 225 medical teams were working in the affected areas, where halogen tablets were being distributed to prevent the outbreak of any water-borne disease.
Altogether 1,136 relief camps were opened. While claiming that relief materials had been despatched to most of the affected areas, the Minister admitted that difficulties were being faced in the areas of Pingla, Sabong, Mukhberia, Potashpur and Bhagabangola, where water was swirling all around. In some areas in Purba Medinipur, which were located in a trough area, the flood situation aggravated after fresh showers in the morning.
To questions about relief not reaching certain areas, he said the panchayat elections proved a hurdle.