Thu, Jul 03, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Floods displace 470,000, six die in northeast India

AFP , GUWAHATI, INDIA

The number of people displaced by a new wave of flooding in northeastern India rose to 470,000 yesterday as hundreds more villages were submerged, officials said.

Six people have died so far due to landslides and floods sparked by heavy monsoon rains since last week in the northeastern states of Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya.

The main Brahmaputra river has breached its banks at several places in Assam, leaving more than 460,000 people homeless since a second wave of flooding began Friday, an official said.

Another 10,000 people were displaced in Tripura with floodwaters washing away up to 50 villages.

"At least 800 villages spread over 11 districts in the state have been hit by the floods," Assam Revenue Minister Mithias Tudu said.

About 400,000 people were displaced during the first wave of floods in early June in Assam, but the waters later receded.

"The high river current has breached scores of mud embankments, aggravating the flood situation," Assam Flood Control Minister Nurzamal Sarkar said.

Floodwaters have entered the 430km2 Kaziranga National Park in eastern Assam, drowning five animals -- a rhino, a buffalo, two hog deer and a python.

Fear of water-borne diseases spreading were compounded as floodwaters submerged wells in the affected regions.

"Water-borne diseases like gastroenteritis, dysentery, jaundice and typhoid have been reported from flood-affected areas although it has not assumed epidemic proportions yet," a health official said.

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