14 lakh affected by Bengal floods: Minister

Kolkata, Oct 21 (IANS) Some areas of West Bengal's East Midnapore district were still inundated, even as the flood situation that affected 14 lakh people in around 6,837 villages was under control, said a state minister.

The death count stood at 17, while 19,663 houses were completely destroyed and about 65,000 houses partially damaged by the calamity caused by heavy rainfalls triggered by cyclone Phailin and the release of water from reservoirs of Damodar Valley Corporation and Jharkhand, said Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan.

Between 70 and 80 blocks faced the flood fury.

"The flood situation is under control, though some areas in East Midnapore are still under water," said Khan.

He said with the improvement in the situation, many people have returned home from the relief camps set up by the state government. Now, around 35, 723 people are sheltered in the relief centres.

Khan said the state government's top priority was to prevent starvation deaths. "That's our main concern."

He said the quantum of damage was yet to be ascertained, though it was likely the losses will run into crores of rupees.

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