New flooding threat to cyclone survivors

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The Independent Online

Survivors of the devastating cyclone that hit the Indian state of Orissa in 1999 have been forced to flee massive new floods amid fears that worse may be still to come.

Survivors of the devastating cyclone that hit the Indian state of Orissa in 1999 have been forced to flee massive new floods amid fears that worse may be still to come.

Half a million people have been evacuated from their homes and about 9,000 villagers stranded by floodwater after weeks of monsoon rain caused rivers to overflow their banks.

Fears of cholera epidemics are growing. Thousands are camped out on river embankments and expressways to escape floodwaters, which have left at least 39 dead and washed away more than 100 villages.

Air force and army units are bringing food and fresh water to survivors, but many whose homes were deluged said they had received no help.

Most of those affected were still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the 1999 cyclone which hit the state, one of India's poorest, killing at least 10,000.

But it is feared that flooding could get much worse, affecting as many as five million people in the next few days when floods coincide with high tides.

H K Panda, a special relief commissioner, said: "The state is facing a huge crisis. It will be the worst-ever flooding in the history of the state."

Basant Mohanty, of the aid charity CARE India, said: "The water is expected to stay on the land for at least two weeks, longer than in 1999, creating a real danger of epidemics."

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