At least 150,000 people have been rendered homeless due to heavy rainfall in a large portion of southern West Bengal, including Sundarbans, in the past three days, an official said on Monday.
Houses were swept away during the heavy downpour and embankments were breached at several places in the tidal mangrove forest that is the Sundarbans, forcing villagers to move.
"At least 1.5 lakh (150,000) people have been rendered homeless across the state. Many areas of Sundarbans, including Patharpratima, Kultali, Gosaba, Basanti and Sagar Island in Kolkata's neighbouring South 24 Parganas district have been affected by the rain," said state Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta.
"The rains have also caused damage and human displacement in areas like Hingalganj and Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district," he added.
According to official sources, the state government has already sent relief material to both South and North 24-Parganas, besides East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Murshidabad, Bankura and Purulia districts - the other rain-affected areas.
Murshidabad has recorded 21 cm of rainfall in the past three days - the highest in the state.
"The state government is closely monitoring the situation," Dasgupta said.
Sundarbans Affairs Minister Kanti Ganguly, meanwhile, visited the affected areas to survey the damage and monitor the distribution of relief material.
The state irrigation department has been asked to rebuild the damaged embankments in Sundarbans.