Torrential Rains and Massive Floods Leave Tens of Thousands Stranded in India

( [email protected] ) Sep 27, 2011 07:30 AM EDT

The Indian states of Iash Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar have been struggling with surging floodwaters that have left tens of thousands of people stranded and have affected millions.

The floods have been caused by heavy monsoon rains that began in August, and estimates suggest than anywhere from 2 to 4 million people have been affected by the torrential rains and flooding that is wreaking havoc in India.

In Orissa, the worst affected state, 20 people alone have been killed since last Friday. The floods have inundated more than 3,000 villages that are home to upwards of 2 million people in the eastern state.

The Orissa relief commissioner P.K. Mohapatra has said that five people have been missing since Tuesday in addition to the 20 people already dead.

The Disaster Management Minister Surya Oatra from the state of Orissa told the AFP, “Flooding since the beginning of the month has left 60 people dead and over four million reeling under the impact.”

Indian air force helicopters are dropping food parcels and boats are shuttling stranded people to safety and more than 150,000 people living in low-lying areas have been evacuated from the Orissa region alone. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of people remain stranded.

In the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, also impacted by the heavy rains that have come at the end of the monsoon season, over 31 people were killed over the weekend.

The monsoon rains have collapsed riverbanks, crippled mud huts, and flooded wide swaths of north and east India, particularly in recent days.

India’s monsoon season runs from June through September and brings rains that commonly cause floods and landslides but are also vital to feed India’s agricultural sector.