Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 18:42 UK

India flood crisis 'deteriorates'

Flooding in Orissa
The flooding has caused chaos in Orissa

The flood situation in India's eastern states of Orissa, West Bengal and Jharkhand continues to deteriorate, officials say.

But they say that there has been some improvement in the worst affected state of Assam in the country's north-east.

More than eight million people have been affected by severe floods and thousands have been displaced.

In Orissa officials say they are battling to get food to marooned people in the north of the state.

Many states in the north-east and east of India have been hit hard by flooding.

The army has been deployed in the state of Jharkhand - where nearly two and half million people have been affected by torrential rain - the heaviest for six decades, according to officials.

Five people have died in the wet weather in West Bengal and four in Orissa, officials said.

"We have not been able to reach thousands of people encircled by flood waters on all sides as road links have been badly damaged and the swirling water of the rivers is making the movement of boats difficult," a senior official engaged in the Orissa relief operation told the BBC.

The district of Lakhimpur in Assam (Images: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee)
The district of Lakhimpur in Assam is one of the worst hit

Nearly 40,000 people in the state's low lying areas have been evacuated to safer places.

The Orissa government started air-dropping food to inaccessible areas on Thursday morning.

Officials said nearly a million people in four Orissa districts - Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak and Jajpur - have been affected by the floods.

More than half a million people have been affected in Balasore alone, officials said, and a total of 850 villages have been cut off.


Meanwhile three army columns were rushed to West Bengal's West and East Midnapore districts after more than 700mm rainfall lashed the two districts over the past three days.

A total of two million people have been affected by the floods in these two districts as the Subarnarekha River continued to rise, leaving nearly 300,000 people marooned.

The BBC's north-east India correspondent, Subir Bhaumik, says that there was some consolation for the authorities in Assam, where there are signs that heavy rainfall is abating.

But our correspondent says that the worst affected districts of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts remain cut off from the rest of the state following a huge breach of national highway number 52.

Officials say that two and half million people have been affected by the floods in Assam and 12 have died.

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