Flood waters recede in India diamond hub


Flood waters receded in western India on Friday, but hundreds of thousands of people were still cut off in the diamond-cutting hub of Surat, officials said.
“If good weather prevails … water will recede from the city by tonight (Friday),” Surat administrator Vatsala Vasudeva told the Press Trust of India.
But hundreds of thousands of people in the city, which has a population of 3.5 million, still did not have access to food, water or medicine, officials said.
Telephone networks and power supply were also disrupted in several areas, they added.
In neighbouring Maharashtra, authorities were on high alert after weather officials predicted heavy rainfall over a 24-hour period in several areas.
“Over half a million people are affected and 312,000 people have been evacuated across several districts in the state,” Bhupati Pandey, state secretary for relief and rehabilitation, told AFP in the state capital Mumbai.
“Water levels through flooding have lessened in some areas but other districts are still affected,” he said.
Meanwhile 900 villages were still inundated in southern Andhra Pradesh state, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was due Friday to assess the situation.
More than 100 people have died in Andhra Pradesh since flooding began at the start of the month.
Though rainfall has subsided in the past three days, the state’s Godavari river was flooded because of inflows from neighbouring Maharashtra.
Around 7,000 people in Andhra Pradesh have been evacuated, while 3.1 million were hit by the deluge.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2006

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