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Wednesday, July 29, 1998 Published at 02:05 GMT 03:05 UK

World: South Asia

Floods threaten Dhaka

Millions have had to abandon their homes and belongings

Officials in Bangladesh say weeks of monsoon floods that have caused widespread damage across half the country are now threatening the capital, Dhaka.

Some low-lying areas of the city are already submerged, forcing residents to evacuate to safer areas.

The flooding has killed at least 140 people since it began more than three weeks ago.

Government spokesmen say the number of people affected by the floods has doubled in the last week to nearly 15 million.

Heavy rain in the Himalayan foothills and high tides have hindered the discharge of floodwaters into the ocean and forecasters have warned of worse to come.

Bangladesh's three main rivers - the Brahmaputra, Ganges and Meghnaare - are still rising following more rain, and could threaten fresh areas soon.

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