India

Floods continue to ravage India as relief efforts gear up

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New Delhi (dpa) - More than 150 people have died in floods driven by nine days of monsoon rains in India, and relief workers were air-dropping food and medical supplies to stranded victims Monday.

Heavy rains in the western state of Gujarat have left at least 152 dead, NDTV said. Government officials, however put the figure at 132. Nearly half a million people have been displaced in the state.

In the past week, another 22 deaths were reported from three states of Uttranchal, Orissa and Maharashtra.

Food packets and other essentials were dropped to scores of people stuck on rooftops in inundated areas, as relief and rehabilitation work got into full swing in the flood-hit western Indian state of Gujarat on Monday.

Sonia Ghandi, head of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, toured affected areas of Gujarat Monday with federal defence minister Pranab Mukherjee. Stung by reports that relief aid was not being properly delivered, Gandhi urged state officials to redouble efforts.

Besides carrying out rescue operations and rehabilitation work, authorities in Gujarat said they were concerned about preventing outbreaks of disease.

Over 500 medical teams are tasked with sanitation, clearing areas of stagnant water and providing clean drinking water.

Nearly 1,800 people stuck in inundated regions have been rescued in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, NDTV reported. Security personnel negotiated swirling waters to rescue people in various parts of the state.

Authorities and teams were working against time in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh as weathermen predicted more rains in the next two days. dpa sk tl

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