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Saturday, 21 October, 2000, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Bangladesh row over floods
Flood-hit area
It may be months before all the waters recede
Bangladesh's opposition has demanded that the flood-hit southwestern region be called a "disaster area" to help boost aid to tens of thousands of people.

They are just helpless ... facing the cruelty of nature

Local official
The head of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party Khaleda Zia said in a statement that the government had failed to provide adequate relief to affected people.

Food queue
Five million are not getting aid and drinking water
Official estimates show that about five million people are not getting proper aid and drinking water.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a recent BBC interview that her country will need international aid to repair damage caused by the floods.

She denied that relief efforts had failed to reach remote areas, adding food stocks were currently sufficient to meet emergency needs.

Worst in a century

The month-long floods, which began in the Indian state of West Bengal, are said to be the worst in a century.

Doctor examines a victim in Satkhira
Medicines and other relief are urgently required
More than 130 people have been killed, two million made homeless, and several million dollars lost in crops, roads, bridges and huts that have been destroyed.

Large areas remain inundated, although water levels have been dropping.

The collapse of a dam on Friday submerged new areas in the coastal Satkhira district, local reports said.

Months of high waters

With monsoon rains due, it is expected to take weeks or months before all the floodwaters recede.

Villagers leave
Two million people have been made homeless
Families that have fled to higher ground, including rooftops and river embankments, are exposed to the continuing rain.

"They are just helpless ... facing the cruelty of nature," an official in Satkhira told Reuters news agency.

Polluted waters have also caused outbreaks of disease, with nearly 28,000 cases of diarrhoea recorded in the past two weeks.

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See also:

10 Oct 00 | South Asia
Bangladesh flood aid plea
08 Oct 00 | South Asia
Bangladesh floods spread
06 Oct 00 | South Asia
Bangladesh 'does not need aid'
02 Oct 00 | South Asia
India 'made floods worse'
30 Sep 00 | South Asia
Floods hit 20 million
30 Sep 00 | South Asia
Struggle to reach flood victims
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