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The BBC's Jill McGivering in Orissa
"Some areas are still totally cut off"
 real 28k

Patrick Fuller of the Red Cross
"Hopefully the floods have peaked"
 real 28k

Saturday, 21 July, 2001, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
More rain feared in Orissa
Indian airplane with supplies
Dropping supplies to stranded villagers
By South Asia correspondent Jill McGivering

Emergency relief efforts are under way in the Indian state of Orissa, as the authorities try to reach hundreds of thousands of people still stranded by some of the worst floods the region has ever seen.

The official death toll is 42, but information is still coming in from outlying areas which are cut off by the flood water.
Map showing Orissa

It is estimated that a total of five million are affected.

India's armed forces are leading the state's official rescue operation, trying to evacuate stranded villagers by boat where they can, and in the more remote areas, dropping sacks of dry food from military helicopters.

From the air, the sheer scale of the flooding soon becomes clear.

Brown flood water

We flew over mile after mile of totally submerged land, a sea of brown flood water broken only by rooftops, ridges of earth and the tops of trees.

Officials say more than 10,000 villages have been flooded, many totally cut off by the rising water.
Flooded village
More than 10,000 villages are cut off

In some areas, there are signs that the water is starting to recede, but more days of heavy rain are forecast, and some aid workers say they fear the situation could worsen.

There are also concerns about health; many water sources have become contaminated or standpipes totally submerged, so clean drinking water is a major problem.


An estimated 20,000 houses have been destroyed, many more are partly flooded.

Makeshift shelters, some barely more than plastic sheeting, are being built along embankments and patches of high ground.

Many of these communities were still trying to rebuild in the aftermath of the cyclone which devastated this region less than two years ago.

Orissa is one of India's poorest states, and many people here have no resources to sustain them when disaster strikes.

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See also:

20 Jul 01 | South Asia
Orissa flood victims trapped
19 Jul 01 | South Asia
One million stranded by Orissa flood
28 Jun 01 | UK
Disaster aid 'misguided'
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Red Cross warns on climate
04 Aug 00 | South Asia
Flood disaster in India
13 Jun 00 | South Asia
Flood causes damage in India
22 Feb 00 | South Asia
Oxfam attacks Indian disaster policy
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