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West Bengal flood situation improves, death toll reaches 55

LiveMint logoLiveMint 19-08-2017 PTI

Kolkata: The overall flood situation in West Bengal has improved with no major rainfall happening in the past two days, officials said. Three more deaths were reported to the central control room at the state secretariat in Kolkata since Friday, taking the toll to 55 since 21 July.

Of the 55 dead, 48 people drowned, four died of snakebite and three succumbed to wall collapse, a senior officer of the state disaster management department said. Over 52 lakh people have been hit by the floods in six north Bengal districts of Coochbehar, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Malda.

The officer said the flood situation was improving gradually as the waters had started receding as there was no heavy rainfall in the past 48 hours. In all, 776 relief camps had been set up in the affected districts, where 2,08,513 people had taken shelter, he said. “We are constantly monitoring the situation. The district magistrates are working 24x7. Relief material like dry food, cooked food, water pouches and medicines are being distributed,” the officer said.

Medical officers were conducting regular health check-ups to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases, he added. The officer said the swirling waters had destroyed over 75,000 houses and damaged another 2.15 lakh. Despite the overall improvement in the situation, a report from Malda said the Mahananda river, the water of which had flooded the Gajol block, was rising.

The water level in a river at Harirampur in South Dinajpur district was also on the rise, the officer said. While Air India is offering tickets at a comparatively less price for the Bagdogra-Kolkata-Bagdogra sector, some private airlines are allegedly still charging exorbitantly. The state government has already written to the civil aviation ministry on the issue.

The Eastern Railways (ER) is running trains up to Malda from Kolkata. Train services beyond Malda have remained suspended owing to inundation of railway tracks in north Bengal, Bihar and Assam. Train services to north Bengal beyond Malda and Assam from Howrah and Sealdah stations remained suspended for the seventh consecutive day on Saturday, an ER spokesman said.

From Friday, the state government was plying 41 pairs of buses to and from various destinations in north Bengal, state transport secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said. Trucks carrying both perishable and non-perishable items were stranded between Farakka and Omarpur on NH-34 because of the flood.

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