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More Than 70 Die In Weekend Floods, Rains In South Asia

Indian villagers use a raft made of banana plants to navigate through floodwaters near the village of Bordoloni in Dhemaji district, some 500 km from Guwahati, 28 July 2007. At least 27 people have died and nearly three million hit by floods triggered by torrential monsoon rains in eastern India, officials said. Landslips and flash-floods killed 13 more people in Assam and Meghalaya and displaced around 750,000 people in the two adjoining states, prompting authorities to send an appeal for help to military units. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Guwahati, India (AFP) Jul 30, 2007
More than 70 people were killed after heavy rains and floods across South Asia, while over one million were left stranded by rising waters on the weekend, officials said Sunday. Several days of torrential downpours combined with melting Himalayan snow caused flooding in low lying areas of Nepal, India's northern states and neighbouring Bangladesh, with rivers expected to crest in coming days. India's northeast was among the worst affected and the army was deployed for rescue operations in Assam state on Sunday, officials said.

"The situation worsened overnight, drowning two more people in western Assam and displacing another 250,000," Assam's Relief Minister Bhumidhar Barman said in the state's largest city Guwahati.

Barman said the total number of people stranded as the major Brahmaputra river continued to swell was more than a million. Troops were using boats to rescue people sheltering from the waters on top of their homes in the state.

The military in neighbouring Bangladesh, where the river flows south to the Bay of Bengal, was also carrying out relief operations, with at least 200,000 people in danger from rising flood waters.

Unconfirmed reports said some 10 people there have so far drowned and died from snake-bites.

The government's flood forecasting and warning centre said the situation could get worse in coming days as monsoon rains and Himalayan-glaciers continued to feed the Ganges and the Brahmaputra river.

In Nepal, officials told AFP the toll from weekend rains stood at 18.

"Eighteen people died in the last two days and the other 50 have been killed since the monsoon started in mid June," Thir Bahadur G.C., an undersecretary from Nepal's Home Ministry told AFP.

Around 86,000 people have been displaced by the flooding, he added.

In India, another two million people were affected in Bihar state where the overnight death toll from drowning and house collapses rose to 25, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

Officials in Bihar's capital Patna said most rivers were in spate following non-stop rains. More than two million people in 10 districts were stuck in their homes and farms following rising water levels.

Eight more people died in northern Uttar Pradesh state, PTI said, mostly in house collapses, bringing the toll there since Thursday to 25.

Around 800 people have died in India since the onset of the monsoon in June from a tally compiled from local officials and media reports.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Emergency Committee Meets In London As UK Faces Worst Floods In 60 Years
London (AFP) Jul 24, 2007
Britain's emergency contingencies committee met Monday night to discuss further measures to combat the worst flooding in 60 years, which Prime Minister Gordon Brown linked to climate change. Large swathes of central and western England were submerged as rivers swelled and burst their banks during four days of heavy and persistent rain, leaving thousands without clean water or electricity and facing the prospect of more rain.

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