Flood update

Published: Friday 31 August 2007

The floods in South Asia, which was one of the worst in recent times, have claimed hundreds of lives. By the second week of August, the floods had affected more than 20 million people and claimed around 2,000 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh, notes a un report issued on August 7. "This year's monsoons have been of a startling magnitude and intensity," says the report. The UN body has expressed concern over a possible health emergency in these countries and warns that more than 30 million people are in urgent need of fresh water, shelter and food.

In Bangladesh, about two-thirds of the land remained submerged, with more than 50,000 people suffering from diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases. Heavy rainfalls have caused landslides in Nepal, reportedly killing 84 people.

In India, seven coastal states have been the worst affected. In Bihar, by the second week of August, the floods affected around 10.8 million people and washed away 31,000 houses. Eighty-seven people died in the first half of August, of which 28 drowned while trying to climb aboard an overcrowded boat. An estimate by a un body shows that around 5 million children in Bihar alone are unable to attend schools as the floods have washed away the buildings. In Assam, the floods displaced 5.5 million people, killing 33. In Uttar Pradesh, though the floodwaters started receding by August second week, they killed 125 and left two million people homeless. Gujarat and Orissa have been experiencing severe floods since late July. Death toll in Orissa had reached 17 by the second week of August.

In Chhattisgarh, road links to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Orissa remained cut off. In Karnataka, about 968 hectares remains inundated by the Tungabhadra, Kumdawati and Varada rivers.

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