South Asia

Published: Monday 15 October 2007

Second deluge Less than a month after monsoon rains battered the country, a second wave of flooding that began on September 10, is further affecting parts of Bangladesh.

According to government officials, the overall death toll from flooding since July had risen to 840, forcing over half a million from their homes.

The Teesta and Dharala rivers in the northwest and the Surma river in the northeast have already swamped embankments. All major rivers in the north and central regions are rising alarmingly. Crops and vegetables covering a million hectares have been inundated. However, officials say, it will take more time to work out the actual figures. The government of Bangladesh has sought an initial US $150 million in help from donor agencies, with a request for US $60 million as immediate food and medical assistance.

No potato import The Sri Lankan government has imposed a total ban on importing potato with immediate effect.

The move is to benefit local farmers who faced a major crop loss in the last harvesting season. Government officials say that with imported potatoes flooding the market, the prices of local potato have gone down sharply. Earlier, the government had imposed Rs 15 per kilogram as import tax, but this could bring no relief to local growers. Hence, the government decided to ban potato imports totally to avoid a further drop in prices.

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