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Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Indians flee monsoon floods

Heavy monsoon rains have triggered flash floods in parts of northern and western India.

Water from two of India's biggest rivers - the Brahmaputra and the Ganges - has engulfed thousands of villages.

Assam villagers cope with floods
Major rivers in the region are prone to flood at this time of year
According to some estimates, nearly half a million people have been made homeless in the northern states of Bihar and Assam.

Flooding has also occurred in the western state of Maharashtra, where a few cases of cholera have been reported close to Bombay.

In Bihar, two national highways have been badly damaged, seriously disrupting movement of trucks which carry two-thirds of the goods from one place to the other.

The state administration has told engineers working in irrigation and flood control departments that no one will be allowed to take their holidays because of the flood situation.

Army 'ready'

In Assam, soldiers have helped rescue thousands of people marooned in remote villages, and more troops are standing by for relief operations.

An army spokesman said that disaster management squads in speedboats and helicopters were on standby.

This is just the beginning of India's monsoon season, but the rains have been unusually heavy so far.

See also:

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