60 dead, four million affected in India floods

India: Sixty people have died and four million have been affected by flooding in eastern India that has led to a major relief effort from local and international aid agencies, officials said Monday.”It’s tough to cope with two successive floods within a week,” Disaster Management Minister Surya Patra from the state of Orissa told AFP following separate bouts of heavy rains that led rivers to break their banks.”Flooding since the beginning of the month has left 60 people dead and over four million reeling under the impact,” he said, adding that coastal regions of the impoverished state had been particularly badly hit.In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, an estimated 28 people have been killed in rain-related incidents and rivers there are also on the rise, local reports said Monday.In Orissa, Special Relief Commissioner Mr P.K. Mohaptra told AFP that an estimated 150,000 people living in low-lying areas had been evacuated over the weekend after water levels rose in the Brahmani and Baitarani river systems. He said five helicopters were dropping food packets in the worst-hit locations and two more would join the fleet. “Besides, 260 relief centres are in operation providing food and other utilities,” Mohapatra said.

The International Federation of the Red cross said it had distributed 5,000 tarpaulins, 2,000 kitchen sets and 15,000 buckets among the affected people. The floods have been caused by heavy and late rains at the end of the monsoon season.Meanwhile, Philippine authorities on Monday evacuated more than 100,000 people, closed schools and grounded flights as one of the biggest typhoons of the year bore down on the Southeast Asian country.

Typhoon Nesat was set to make landfall Tuesday morning along the vulnerable eastern edge of the Philippines’ main Luzon island, then dump heavy rains hundreds of kilometres (miles) inland to areas including the capital Manila. “We expect hazards such as landslides, flash floods, strong winds and storm surges,” senior state weather forecaster Robert Sawi told reporters.He said storm alert warnings had been hoisted over most of Luzon, home to more than 48 million people, or more than half the Philippines’ population. – Nation