Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 5 News List

India's monsoon death toll rises above 1,000

DISASTER The number of people killed from the flooding is still rising and despite receding waters in some areas, unsanitary conditions mean disease is spreading

AP , NEW DELHI

A family moves to higher ground, away from a flooded colony in Ambala, 200km north of New Delhi, India on Tuesday. The death toll from monsoon flooding in India crossed 1,000 Wednesday with reports of at least 168 people killed in the country's west, north and east as rains destroyed crops, flooded highways and halted trains in South Asia.

PHOTO: AP

The death toll from monsoon flooding in India stood at more than 1,000 yesterday with reports of more than 165 people killed in recent days by rains that also destroyed crops, flooded highways and halted trains across South Asia.

The toll across South Asia from six weeks of monsoon storms reached 1,823, according to official figures compiled by The Associated Press.

Nearly 130 deaths occurred in India's western Gujarat state over three days through Wednesday in remote areas unreachable by roads or telephone, said state spokesman I.K. Jadeja. They included 17 people killed when heavy rains smashed three homes in Bharuch district.

On Tuesday, mudslides surged into an underground tunnel of the Tehri Dam power project, killing 30 workers and injuring 10 others, said N.S. Napalchyl, the principal disaster management secretary in northern Uttaranchal state, 300km north of New Delhi. Twenty-five bodies had been recovered by Wednesday and five remained buried under rubble, he said.

Seventeen more bodies were found Wednesday as floodwaters receded in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, said Upendra Sharma, a top government official in the state capital, Patna.

One person was killed in Vaishali, 25km north of Patna, when police fired guns to disperse a riotous mob protesting inadequate relief supplies, said H.N. Deva of the Vaishali police.

In Bangladesh, a boat carrying 10 villagers across a lake in a storm overturned on Wednesday, drowning a 3-year-old girl and a 70-year-old man while eight others swam to safety, said Nurul Afsar, an official in Moulvibazar district.

The storm also swept through several villages, destroying 50 mud and straw houses, he said. Two other people died of diarrhea in Bangladesh as the disease struck another 8,220 victims in the past 24 hours, the government said.

Diarrhea, dysentery and typhoid are spreading as waters recede, leaving behind sewage and filth and contaminating drinking water. Children are the worst affected.

UN agencies were meeting with foreign donors and government officials in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, on Wednesday to assess the flood damage and relief and rehabilitation needs in preparation for an aid appeal that the UN intends to launch next week.

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