Madhya Pradesh is the latest Indian state -after Himachal Pradesh, Orissa and Gujarat — to be hit by floods, following incessant , heavy monsoon rains since the last week of June. Flash floods in the central Indian state have submerged entire villages
Forty-eight people have died after being swept away in flash floods triggered by heavy rains in northeastern Madhya Pradesh. Six towns, more than 350 villages and upto 12 lakh people have been affected by the flooding, and more than 4,000 people across the state are homeless and living in relief camps. All the major rivers in the state are overflowing, while a flood alert was issued over the weekend.
Since the alert, on July 2, the authorities have evacuated thousands of people in Sagar, Rewa, Satna, Katni, Chhatarpur, Damoh, Panna and Umaria — the worst affected districts — to safer ground. On July 5, Jabalpur and Narsimhpur were added to the list of flood-affected districts.
The district of Damoh has been cut off from the rest of the state and the state government claimed that five villages here had been completely submerged, but could not name the villages or provide information on the condition of their inhabitants.
Five defence helicopters have arrived to assist with flood relief in the state, three of which have been deployed for air-dropping essential commodities for the marooned people in Panna, Sagar and Damoh districts, Madhya Pradesh’s chief minister Babulal Gaur said.
Besides two companies of Special Armed Forces (SAF) and home guards, around 200 army personnel were assisting relief work in Sagar, Damoh, Panna and Chhatarpur, he added. They were helping the local police and homeguards in their relief efforts in Sagar, where 11 villages have been submerged, and Katni.
Six villages in Chhatarpur district were submerged with the entry of backwaters from the river Ken. Thousands of people have been shifted to safer ground.
In Rewa town, at least 800 people have been moved to 17 relief camps, with the submergence of low-lying areas.
The police has rescued around 300 people in Katni town. At least four villages adjoining Bahoriband town in Katni district have been affected by floods.
Torrential rains have also wreaked havoc in large parts of the Vindhya and Bundelkhand regions and some parts of Mahakoshal.
Most rivers in the northeast of the state are in spate (as of July 5), although the Narmada continues to flow below the danger mark at Hoshangabad. The river’s level in Satna has however risen to more than three times the normal level within the past three days. Officials in Satna have evacuated people living near the river. While there has been no loss of life, heavy damage to property has been reported.
Road and rail traffic has been seriously affected with the flooding of rivers in many parts of the state. Telecommunications, and water and electricity supplies were also disrupted in many places.
“Efforts are on to use trains to transport boats to the affected areas. Relief operations are being carried out on a war footing,” said Gaur. All collectors have been asked to spend as much as possible on food, rehabilitation and safety, he added.
The Indian government and the Madhya Pradesh state government have together released Rs 93 crore for relief operations – 75% of this amount came from the centre’s National Calamity Relief Fund, the balance was made up by the state.
The state’s chief minister also announced a cash compensation of Rs 50,000 to each of the families of persons who have died in the floods.
In the past week, more than 150 lives were lost in flooding in Gujarat alone; another 22 deaths were reported from Uttaranchal, Orissa and Maharashtra.