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Rediff.com  » News » Death toll rises as floods, rains batter Uttar Pradesh

Death toll rises as floods, rains batter Uttar Pradesh

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
Last updated on: August 30, 2008 00:29 IST
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With more deaths reported from different flood-ravaged parts of Uttar Pradesh, the overall toll on has swelled to 785.

While 106 of these deaths had occurred due to drowning, the rest had taken place due to houses collapsing on account of the incessant rain.

According to the UP relief commissioner G K Tandon, who was also incharge of disaster management, "the damage on account of floods and rain since the monsoon broke out on June 1, was already estimated at about Rs. 283 crores."

As many as 22 lakh people living in 21 of UP's 70 districts are facing the fury of the floods with almost every major river in spate. These included the Ganga, Yamuna, Ghaghra, Rapti , Sharda and the Gomti rivers.

The vast poverty-ridden rural expanse of eastern UP was the worst hit essentially on account of absence of any permanent flood protection measures, even though this was a perennial feature in the region.

Even though there was some let up in the rain over the past two days, most of the rivers continued to rise on account of backflow from the Ganga into which the bulk of the rivers flow.

Authorities concentrated heavily on the state capital, where certain posh areas were inundated on account of backflow of the drains in the face of a rising Gomti.

With sprawling and opulent mansions owned by powerful politicians and bureaucrats threatened on account of the flood waters making deeper inroads into Lucknow's Gomti Nagar, local authorities pumped in all resources to extend the river embankment by more than 300 metres within a span of 48 hours to keep the "VIP" area safe from further damage.

"However, we are still keeping our fingers crossed ; and if the rain god continues to be kind on us, perhaps we will be able to tide over the crisis here", Lucknow district magistrate Chandra Bhanu said.
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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow