PATNA, India (AP) — Authorities stepped up efforts Thursday to deliver food and evacuate villagers stranded by monsoon flooding in eastern India, as searchers reported finding 28 more bodies to bring the country’s seasonal death toll to 335.
With relentless rains finally easing, Indian air force helicopters boosted efforts to drop food parcels, and hundreds of boats tried to reach nearly 100,000 people marooned in more than 1,300 villages in the eastern state of Orissa, said Prabitta Mohapatra, special relief commissioner.
The boats have evacuated more than 120,000 people, and were continuing to bring people to safer ground, including people stranded on rooftops, Mohapatra told The Associated Press.
Since India’s monsoon season started in June, flooding has caused 168 deaths in Uttar Pradesh, 88 in Orissa, 47 in West Bengal, 31 in Bihar and one in Assam. Those figures include 28 bodies found in Orissa and Bihar over the past two days, officials said.
The deaths in Bihar occured when mud houses collapsed due to incessant rain or when trees fell on residents, said Vyasji, a state government official in the Bihar capital of Patna who uses one name.
More than 9,000 mud houses in the state have collapsed, he said.