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Heavy downpour takes UP toll over 1,000

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
September 21, 2008 21:12 IST
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Rainstorms and rain over the past 48 hours has taken a heavy toll of human life and property in Uttar Pradesh.

With over 100 deaths over the weekend, this monsoon's toll on account of the fury of rain and floods has gone up to nearly 1,080. Of these only 138 had met their end due to drowning, while the rest had perished on account of the fury of the rain.

According to State Relief Commissioner G K Tandon, "The worst was on Friday when 82 deaths were reported from different parts of the state."

"Most of the deaths had occurred on account of house collapse or falling trees," he said.

Sitapur was described as the worst hit district with as many as 42 people dying due to the incessant rain.

About 114 mm of rain, recorded in Lucknow on that day, was described as the highest in any single day over the past 10 years.

Most of the rivers that were on the receding path over the past fortnight, have once again begun to rise, ringing alarm bells for the authorities.

The state irrigation department has been alerted to keep a watch on the rising levels of Ghaghra and Sarda rivers in particular, which were bringing a lot of water from the upstream in Nepal.

"We have re-deployed the Provincial Armed Constabulary in a number of districts along the course of these two rivers in particular and have also started evacuation of people from the low-lying areas," Tandon told this scribe on Sunday.

Even as there was some respite on part of Saturday, the downpour came with renewed intensity later in the evening and continued on Sunday morning, leading to inundation of vast areas.

People remained marooned  in their homes in heavily water-logged areas, while those living in hutments had to bear the water dripping through their porous and fragile thatched roofs.

"Incessant rains led to caving in of kutcha houses, particularly in  semi-urban and rural areas where most of the deaths occurred," said the relief commissioner.

"Normal life was completely disrupted in large parts of the state and with weather pundits predicting continued downpour for the next 24 hours, there was no hope of improvement in the situation," he added.

Reports reaching Lucknow from different parts of the state said the rain was likely to cause much harm to the paddy crop as well.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow