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Gandhinagar, Aug. 8

With parts of Gujarat still getting heavy downpour and more areas in four southern districts coming under flood water, the State Government today launched a relief and rescue operation on a war-footing, distributing four million food packets and as many drinking water pouches per day in the flood-affected areas. Nearly two lakh people have been evacuated from low-lying areas during the last two days.

More than four million people, mainly in South Gujarat, have been affected due to the floods. The Minister of State for Revenue, Mr Kaushik Patel, while briefing reporters here, said altogether two lakh people had been shifted to safer areas in four most affected districts of Surat, Bharuch, Navsari and Vadodara.

They included about one lakh in Surat city and 40,000 in Surat rural district. One million cusecs of water is likely to be released by this evening due to heavy rains in neighbouring Maharashtra's catchment areas, from the Ukai dam on the Tapti river, thus further raising water level in the already flooded Surat and other areas. All business activities in South Gujarat has come to a standstill since the last three days even as the swollen Tapti has divided Surat into two parts. Due to the floods, electricity in areas under 1132 sub-stations, out of 2,059, in Surat, was not being supplied, plunging half of the city into darkness at night.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 9, 2006)
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