With heavy flooding still affecting vast areas of Northern India. the death toll by Friday?
GV Benares with Ganges river front in flood
GV Pilgrims bathing in water
GV Flooded street. Water halfway up telegraph pole.
SVs Men rowing past flooded streets and temples. (7 shots)
GV PAN Delhi streets under water.
SV and CU Families transporting their belongings on tricycles and by hand (3 shots)
GV & SV Refugees in tent encampment (4 shots)
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Background: With heavy flooding still affecting vast areas of Northern India. the death toll by Friday (August 18) had already been put at more than 400. The heaviest losses were in the state of Uttar Pradesh where hundreds of villages and towns have been swamped. According to a Government spokesman, the floods have affected nearly 11 million people, after the heaviest monsoons this century..
SYNOPSIS: In the Holy City of Benares, the swollen waters threatened the lives of the pilgrims who flock to the Ganges to baths.
The temples and other buildings which line the river bank have been inundated. Already, damage to houses and crops has been put at more than 500 million rupees (63 million U.S. dollars). This is the time when the boat comes into its own as the main mode of transport. And with the rains come the breakdown of many of the services in the area. Telephone and electricity lines are washed away and buildings and roads are damaged beyond repair.
Delhi itself has had 62 centimetres (24.5 inches) of rain since June, which makes it the wettest rainy season in the capital for 84 years. The flooding has created another problem for the Government. In Parliament, members of opposition parties have accused them of underplaying the extent of the of the flood damage. With more than a 3 million hectares of land badly affected units of the Indian Army and relief organisations have been involved in a massive relief operation. Residents in towns and cities along the Indus and Ganges Rivers have been told to be ready for evacuation at short notice. More than 1,000 boats are reported to be standing by to help in the rescue operations. Most of the deaths were caused when the Ganges River burst its banks, sending a tide of water which undermined flimsy houses and village huts. A road bridge north of Delhi had to be closed after cracks appeared in its structure. This added to the problems of the thousands of refugees trying to reach relief camps away from the rising water. Rain has fallen every day for the past month in Delhi. The normal monsoon total has already been exceeded, and there is still of month of the rainy season to come.