KOLKATA: The flood situation in seven districts of West Bengal improved slightly with a decrease in rainfall and water receding from the inundated areas, a state government official said on Sunday.

Though water receded in the flood-affected areas, over three lakh displaced people remained at the several rescue centres spread over the seven districts.

“The flood situation has improved slightly in the affected districts owing to less rainfall,” the official said.

The district authorities have been instructed to keep adequate rations, medicines and clothes at the shelters and to be ready to tackle the outbreak of any water-borne diseases.

At least 23 people died in the flood.

A Damodar Valley Corporation official said it released 40,000 cusec of water from its barrages on Sunday.

Several places in Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Birbhum, Paschim Medinipur, Hooghly, Howrah and South 24 Parganas have been affected by floods owing to heavy rain and overflowing rivers.

The most-inundated areas are Khanakul in Hooghly and Ghatal in Paschim Medinipur.

The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force were engaged in rescue and relief operations in Khanakul and adjoining areas, the official said.

IAF helicopters rescued 31 people and the Army deployed an infantry column for rescue works.

The Meteorological Department has forecast light to moderate rainfall in all the districts of West Bengal for the next five days.

It said sub-Himalayan districts such as Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri are likely to receive heavy rain at one or two places.

Asansol in Paschim Bardhaman recorded the highest rainfall at 78 mm in the 24 hours till 8.30 am on Sunday, the Met Office said.

Darjeeling received 55 mm rainfall, Contai in Purba Medinipur 51 mm and Bankura 45 mm during the period, it said.