CALCUTTA, Tuesday (AAP) — A heat wave with top temperatures of 120 degrees killed scores of men, women and children in eastern India yesterday. Meanwhile in the north cast floods have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee from their homes.

Reports reaching Calcutta said the 9-day-old heat wave has killed at least 353 persons in West Bengal and Bihar States. Badly needed crops were seared or flooded.

They said 130 died at Patna, the Bihar capital. But officials fear the actual toll may be higher. Many deaths go unreported in remote country areas. Cattle and other livestock have dropped by thousands.

In drought-hit Madhya State, locally grown food supplies reached an all time low.

Only emergency supplies of food grains from the United States and other countries have made it possible for the Government to meet the minimum needs of the people. The heatwave, described as the worst in 50 years, also has dried reservoirs and wells.

Some 300 miles to the cast, in Assam State, surging floodwaters from the Brahmaputra River, swollen by incessant summer monsoon rains over the past 20 days, have washed away whole villages and ruined great areas of rice, vegetables, and jute.

Government officials in the Assam capital, Shillong, reported that more than 300,000 persons fled before the muddy flood waters.

The Brahmaputra, one of India’s main rivers, rose more than 12 feet under the downpours and burst its banks.

The Government ordered troops into the disaster area to aid civilian rescue and relief teams.

An American flood control expert, Mr H. E. Walker, visiting India, was reported leaving for the North Assam town of Jorhat yesterday with Indian experts to study the situation.

Source: AAP (Calcutta Times)

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