Flash floods in Orissa kill three, affect one million (Lead)

September 18th, 2008 - 5:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sep 18 (IANS) At least three people have died and nearly one million people have been affected as heavy rains triggered flash floods in Orissa, officials said Thursday.As it continued to pour in many parts of the state, the government announced that all schools in the four worst hit districts of Cuttack, Puri, Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur would be closed Friday and Saturday.

The rains are due to a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal.

The three deaths occurred when walls of buildings came crashing down on the victims, Additional Commissioner (Relief) Benudhar Das said. One death took place in Bhadrak district and two people died in Jajpur.

Unofficial sources put the death toll across the state at 10.

The state has 11 major rivers, and water levels in many of them have risen above danger level, Das told IANS.

Heavy rains over the last three days and flooding have affected at least 12 of the 30 districts and marooned over 30 villages. The number affected could be about a million, the official said.

Roads, communications and electricity supply have been disrupted.

Hundreds of trees were uprooted in coastal districts following squalls with wind speeds of 55-65 kmph. The wind storm in the Bay of Bengal also caused tidal waves Tuesday and Wednesday.

More than 30,000 people were evacuated from low lying areas to safer places, the officials said.

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