Thursday, July 21, 2011

More than 200,000 hit by floods in India, Nepal

Biswajyoti Das in AlertNet: Floods and landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains have forced more 200,000 people from their homes in northeast India and neighbouring Nepal, and killed almost 80 people, government officials said on Monday.

South Asia experiences monsoon rains from June to September, which are vital for its agriculture. But the rains frequently affect millions of people in countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal - devastating crops, destroying homes and sparking outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhoea and dysentery.

Officials in India's northeast oil- and tea-rich state of Assam described the situation as "alarming". Two days of incessant rains have inundated hundreds of villages and forced residents to seek refuge on higher ground. Hundreds also remain stranded.

"Our priority now is to rescue marooned people. The situation is really bad and if the rain continues, people in affected areas will have a tough time," said a senior government official in Guwahati, Assam's main city.

The official, who declined to be named, said four people had died in Assam and around 200,000 had been displaced after more than 200 villages in the state's Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts were submerged. Thousands of hectares of paddy crops are estimated to have been damaged….

Flooded villages along Brahmaputra plains, shot by PP Yoonus, Wikmedia Commons

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