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Rediff.com  » News » Thousands flee cyclone-hit Sundarbans ahead of high tide

Thousands flee cyclone-hit Sundarbans ahead of high tide

June 06, 2009 14:31 IST

Exodus of people continued from the Cyclone Aila battered islands of Sundarbans, to escape inundation by full moon high tide 'Bhora Kotal', which is expected to hit the area on Sunday.

Sundarbans Development Minister Kanti Ganguly said over a lakh people had fled the islands of Kumirmari, Lahiripur, Satchelia, Amtoli, Patharpratima and G Plot, which is the farthest in the mouth of the Bay of Bengal in South 24 Parganas.

The fear of heavy rains due to yet another low pressure area in the sea, however, receded with the weather office saying there was no weather warning for any cyclone and rain was expected in the next 24 hours.

To avoid any loss of life in the high tide, South 24 Parganas district authorities are urging people of the remote islands to move to higher areas.

Large boats have been kept in readiness to ferry the people. While many of them are leaving for their relatives' houses, others are being put up at local school buildings.

Nearly 305 relief camps have already been put up in the district to house one lakh evacuees. The full moon tide in the riverine Sundarbans area is considerably higher than the normal high tides.

Ganguly and state Irrigation Minister Subash Naskar, who are supervising the situation, have asked the Sundarbans Development Board, the Irrigation Department and civil defence volunteers to keep a watch over the situation.

 Two hundred civil defence volunteers, besides the Army and the Navy, which arrived with speedboats on Thursday, have been asked to stand by for rescue work.

People staying in higher areas have been asked to keep a watch over the embankments as the repair work on them are yet to be completed, Naskar said. Minister of state for Information and Broadcasting C M Jatua will visit Raidighi and Patharpratima on Sunday.

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