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 user 2007-08-03 at 11:48:00 am Views: 44
  • #18568

    Devastating floods hit South Asia
    Surviving the floods
    20 million people have been displaced as some of the worst floods for
    years have hit a wide swathe of northern India, Bangladesh and
    Nepal.Roads have been washed away and hundreds of villages have been
    cut off by swollen rivers.A BBC correspondent in the Indian state of
    Assam says the air force is organising food drops, but they are nowhere
    near enough.Almost 200 people have died in the floods in the last few
    days.In Bangladesh thousands of families are on the move in search of
    higher ground.
    India: 125 people killed and 12 million stranded, mostly in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam,Bangladesh: 64 people have been killed and seven million are maroonedNepal: Thousands of people displaced in the south

    of thousands of people across the affected area are at risk from hunger
    and disease.The BBC’s South Asia correspondent, Damian Grammaticas,
    says that food, clean drinking water and medical aid are the
    priorities, but just a fraction of those who need them are receiving
    supplies as aid agencies and government teams struggle to get
    through.It has been raining heavily in the region for 20 days. Some
    rivers have seen their levels rise nine or 10 metres, swamping
    embankments and submerging huge tracts of land.Initial government
    figures say at least 125 people have been killed in India in recent
    days, and around 64 in Bangladesh.It means that more than 1,000 people
    have died across South Asia since the start of the annual monsoon in
    mid-June.The number of dead is expected to rise sharply as news comes
    in from more remote areas. An estimated five million hectares of farm
    land is under water.In some areas, the floods are being called the
    worst in living memory.
    Monsoon winds blow north-easterly for one half of the year, and from the south-west for the other half,South-westerly
    winds bring the heavy rains from June to Sept,Winds arrive in southern
    India six weeks before the north west,Annual rainfall varies

    The bulk of the rain is now expected in central India, a region which has so far received a weaker monsoon.
    Already parts of the state of Maharashtra are waterlogged.In Assam, in
    north-eastern India, three feet of rain fell in July.People in the
    state have clashed with police in their desperation for food, shelter
    and Uttar Pradesh the army was called in to evacuate 500
    villages.The two worst affected districts are reported to be Gorakhpur
    and Kushinagar, although water levels in major rivers there are
    reported to have stopped rising for the moment.At least 121 relief
    camps and 34 cattle camps have been set up in the flood-affected areas
    of Bihar.

    Army assistance
    roads and bridges in the states of Bihar and Assam have been damaged,
    making it harder for the authorities to get relief material to those
    affected.Officials in the Bangladeshi district of Sirajganj are
    struggling to reach some of those marooned by the rising waters.The
    BBC’s John Sudworth – in Sirajganj – says that a lack of boats is
    hampering the relief effort, so rafts are being constructed from banana

    Furthermore, there are food shortages.
    is underwater,” says mother of seven Musamat Manwara Khatoum as she
    stands knee-deep in water.”We’ve lost our crops, there’s nowhere to put
    the children down, not even a place to cook.”Forecasters in the area
    say some river levels are still rising but the situation is not yet as
    severe as the flooding in 2004 in which 700 people lost their lives and
    millions had to leave their homes.In Nepal, several rivers that flow
    down from the Himalayas have burst their banks in the heavily populated
    and low-lying Terai region that borders Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.The
    country’s Red Cross says a quarter of a million people have been
    affected by rains.There have been deadly landslides in the highlands
    and floods have hit dozens of districts in the low-lying Terai
    region.Have you been affected by flooding? Send us your experiences
    using the form below.