At least 300 people have died, and more than six million others affected, following flooding in eastern and central India.
At least 300 people have died in eastern and central India and more than six million others have been affected by floods that have submerged villages, washed away crops, destroyed roads and disrupted power and phone lines, officials said on Tuesday.
Heavy monsoon rains have caused rivers, including the mighty Ganges and its tributaries, to burst their banks forcing people into relief camps in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
Government officials in Bihar, which has seen some of the worst flooding this year with almost 120 dead and more than five million affected, said the situation was serious.
“The flood waters have engulfed low-lying areas, homes and fields of crops,” said Zafar Rakib, a district magistrate of Katihar, one of 24 districts out of Bihar’s 38 districts which have been hit by the deluge.
“We have shifted people to higher ground and they are being provided with cooked rice, clean drinking water, polythene sheets,” he said.
In neighboring Uttar Pradesh, where 43 people have died and over one million are affected, schools were closed in the cities of Varanasi and Allahabad as both the Ganges and Yamuna rivers crossed danger levels and flood waters continued to rise.
The holy city of Varanasi, where thousands of Hindus flock daily, was also forced to halt cremations along the banks of sacred Ganges river – forcing families to cremate their relatives on the terrace roofs of nearby houses, officials said.