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Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 08:51 UK

Indian navy joins in flood rescue

A flood affected villager shares food with his daughter in Kendrapada district in Orissa on 23 September 2008
Many say the relief is inadequate

The Indian navy has joined the rescue effort in the eastern state of Orissa where hundreds of thousands of people are still marooned by the floods.

In the worst-hit districts of Kendrapada, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur and Puri, people continue to grapple with hunger, thirst, snakes and diseases.

In Jajpur district, thousands have protested against inadequate relief.

Vast tracts of north and east India are under flood waters and at least 200 people have died in the past few days.

Floods caused by the latest heavy monsoon rains have been most damaging in Orissa and the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, displacing nearly four million people, officials say.

'Too little, too late'

Five teams of the Indian navy, equipped with motor boats, have joined the rescue operations in the worst-hit areas of Orissa.

The Mahanadi river has breached its banks in several places in the state, flooding huge areas.

Air force and paramilitary personnel are already helping with relief and rescue measures.

But given the magnitude of the devastation, some say this is a case of too little, too late.

Villagers wade through flood waters after collecting relief material in Orissa's Kendrapada district on 23 September 2008
Millions have been displaced by the flooding

The anger of the flood-affected people is now beginning to boil over, says the BBC's Sandeep Sahu in the state capital, Bhubaneswar.

About 5,000 people in the Badachana area, in Jajpur district, blocked the Daitari-Pradeep Express Highway for hours on Tuesday to protest against the failure of the administration to send relief material to the area.

In Naugan, in Jagatsinghpur district, a mob attacked and injured a local official and five policemen.

Government vehicles carrying relief supplies have been attacked in several other places too, our correspondent says.

Meanwhile, India's Home Minister Shivraj Patil made an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas and met the state authorities on Tuesday.

Before leaving for Delhi, Mr Patil announced a relief package of five billion rupees (59m).

The state government had earlier asked for 15bn rupees (179m) in assistance.

Relief camps

In Uttar Pradesh, at least 32 people have drowned or been killed by house collapses and electrocutions since Monday, state relief commissioner GK Tandon told the BBC.

The army had been asked to help rescue operations, he said. Nearly three million people from 5,000 villages in 23 districts were affected, he said.

Villagers help an elderly woman cross floodwaters in Orissa on Sept 20, 2008.
Hundreds of thousands have been evacuated to safer areas

Mr Tandon said 7,000 houses had collapsed and 350,000 had been partially damaged.

More than 50,000 people were sheltering in relief camps, he said. Food packets are being dropped in the areas still cut off by flood waters.

Officials say that several rivers flowing into Uttar Pradesh from Nepal are overflowing.

Parts of the Dudhwa tiger reserve in Uttar Pradesh are under water and officials are trying to trace tigers and other animals.

Floods have also hit the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Assam, killing dozens of people.

Meanwhile, a month after the Kosi river breached its banks in Nepal and flooded vast tracts of land in the northern state of Bihar, hundreds of thousands continue to live in relief camps.


SEE ALSO
Death toll rises in Orissa floods
21 Sep 08 |  South Asia
India floods toll rises above 50
20 Jun 08 |  South Asia
India flood crisis 'deteriorates'
19 Jun 08 |  South Asia
Twenty-three dead in India floods
16 Jun 08 |  South Asia
Five killed in Assam flash floods
29 Aug 07 |  South Asia
Surviving on snails and rats in Bihar
09 Aug 07 |  South Asia
In pictures: S Asia flood relief
07 Aug 07 |  In Pictures
What is the South Asia monsoon?
03 Aug 07 |  South Asia

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