Thousands of villagers marooned by floodwater in West Bengal, the north-western province in India, are refusing to be evacuated.
GV Houses partly submerged in flood water and PAN TO people sheltering in wrecked houses (4 shots)
GV People sheltering under trees waiting be rescued
SV Villagers arriving by boat
SV Soldiers with rescued villagers being brought ashore (2 shots)
SV Refugees sheltering under makeshift tents (2 shots)
Authorities announced on Monday (21 August) that more than 550 people had died in floods across the sub-continent in the past month since the monsoon broke. Worst hit has been Utter Pradesh State, where the death toll reached 303 on Monday, when twelve people were swept away as a rive burst it banks. India's Agriculture Minister Surjit Singh Banrala told parliament last week that flood damage was estimated at 507 million rupees (about 63 million dollars).
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Thousands of villagers marooned by floodwater in West Bengal, the north-western province in India, are refusing to be evacuated. Army authorities, say they have rescued more than 50,000 by boat, but that most of the three hundred thousand people marooned want to stay where they are in the hope the waters will recede soon from danger levels. The authorities summed up their attitude as 'natural human reaction'.
SYNOPSIS: More than twenty thousand homes are reported damaged or destroyed in the Murshidabad and malda districts of West Bengal after rains had swollen three major rivers--the Ganga, Bhagirathi and Mahananda. Floodwater have swept through three hundred villages in Murshidabad district, and damaged standing crops in more than (22,250 hectares) of farmland.
Some villagers wanted to take cows, goats and other household goods when soldiers rescued them in a flotilla of fifteen speedboats and some two hundred country boats. Many who refused to be rescued had begged for food to be left with them.
Rescued people have been given food, plus tarpaulins and bamboo, to put up shanties along the Lalgola-Jangipur highway. India's director of Health Services, Dr. M.K. Chetri, has said medical teams would take cholera vaccine and other medicines into flood-hit areas.