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Maj RK Bhattacharya, Indian Army
"We have rescued 3,200 marooned people"
 real 28k

Friday, 4 August, 2000, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Flood disaster in India
Boy in Himachal
Sifting through a damaged home in Himachal Pradesh
At least 700,000 people have been left homeless by flooding in the Indian state of Assam, according to local officials.

Hundreds of villages in the north-eastern state have been inundated by the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries, which are reported to have burst their banks in several places.

Map showing Assam
The flash floods have been triggered by heavy monsoon rains in recent weeks.

The rains have also affected other areas of northern India as well as neighbouring Nepal and Bangladesh.

Officials in Assam said many villagers had had no food for several days.

The army has been called in to help with rescue efforts.

"Army soldiers have rescued more than 2,000 marooned villagers in different parts of the state, using speedboats and divers in the rescue operations," an army spokesman said.

Local functionaries from India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the north-east have said that Delhi should claim compensation from China, because they allege that floods were caused by a massive landslide on the Chinese side of the Brahmaputra river.

Himachal Pradesh

More than 100 people were reported to have died in flash floods in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh earlier this week.

South Asia floods
A million homeless in Assam

More than 100 dead this week in Himachal

Over 100 dead in Nepal in last two months
The River Sutlej, which runs through the state, was reported to have risen to more than 40 feet above its normal level in some places.

Dozens of bridges were washed away, leaving villages stranded.

The local authorities have asked the central government for a grant of about $200m.

It has approved less than a quarter of the amount.

The Sutlej river, which normally runs in a deep gorge, overflowed in a matter of minutes.

Nepal

In Nepal, the authorities say more than 100 people are feared dead following torrential monsoon rain and landslides over the past two months.

The Nepalese Home Minister, Govinda Raj Joshi, said more than 100 people are missing as a result of the floods, and most of these are feared to have died.

Thousands of others have been displaced, and hundreds of hectares of farm land has been washed away.

The damage caused by this year's monsoon rains has been more severe than in previous years.

Environmentalists say deforestation in hill areas is the one of main causes of flooding throughout the South Asia region.

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See also:

28 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Red Cross warns on climate
13 Jun 00 | South Asia
Flood causes damage in India
22 Feb 00 | South Asia
Oxfam attacks Indian disaster policy
26 Nov 99 | South Asia
Cyclone toll 'may never be known'
09 Jul 99 | South Asia
25 killed in Bihar floods
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