Tens of thousands stranded by floodwaters in India

Associated Press
Indian villagers sit in a rescue boat in the flooded Rasulpur village in Orissa's Jajpur district, India, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011. Monsoon rains collapsed mud huts and riverbanks, flooding wide swaths of north and east India and killing at least 48 people over the weekend, officials said Monday. (AP Photo)-INDIA OUT
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Indian villagers sit in a rescue boat in the flooded Rasulpur village in Orissa's Jajpur district, India, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011. Monsoon rains collapsed mud huts and riverbanks, flooding wide swaths of north and east India and killing at least 48 people over the weekend, officials said Monday. (AP Photo)-INDIA OUT

BHUBANESHWAR, India (AP) — Indian air force helicopters dropped food parcels and hundreds of boats shuttled stranded people to safer ground as surging floodwaters hit eastern India.

The floods caused by heavy rains have inundated more than 3,000 villages in Orissa state that are home to more than 2 million people.

Orissa relief commissioner P.K. Mohapatra says five people were missing Tuesday in addition to the 27 killed in the eastern state since Friday.

More than 120,000 people have evacuated but tens of thousands are still marooned. Air force helicopters are delivering food, and more than 370 boats were relocating stranded residents.

More than 77 people have died in Orissa since the monsoons began in August. Flooding also killed at least 44 since Friday in northern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states.

In Bihar, 13 people have died over the past three days when mud houses collapsed due to incessant rain, or trees fell on them, crushing residents. Rescue workers were helping people stranded on rooftops to move to government buildings on higher ground.

In Patna, Bihar's capital, officials said flooding was grim in the northern districts as the water in the Ganges River was flowing above the danger level in many places.

At least 500,000 people have been affected by floods as torrential rains and overflowing rivers inundated northern and central Bihar, said Vyas Ji, a government official in Patna.

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