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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Nepal tackles flood devastation
Rescue workers at the site of a landslide near Kathmandu
Floods and landslides are affecting a vast area
Relief operations are under way in Nepal, where about 50 people have been killed over the past three days in floods and landslides which have also hit neighbouring India.

The army and police have been called out in Nepal to help rescue people marooned by the floods.

The Indian army has also been deployed to help authorities in the north-eastern state of Assam, where at least 12 people drowned while trying to escape floods which have affected more than a million people.

Parts of India and Nepal have been experiencing torrential monsoon rains for the past three days.

Nepal floods

Some 100 people have now died in floods and landslides in Nepal in just over a week.

Thousands of people have been displaced.

Bangladeshi woman wades through flood water
Several countries in the region face flooding
Houses have collapsed and hundreds of hectares of farmland has been inundated across Nepal, with the worst damage in the eastern and central parts of the country.

Transport on major highways linking Kathmandu with the rest of the country has been blocked at several points and efforts are being made to clear the roads.

But the rains have now eased and meteorologists say although the monsoon will continue for a few more days, it will not be as intense.

Forty-six people died last week when landslides swept away two villages in the eastern hill district, Khotang.

Assam

Flash floods in India's Assam state have now affected over one million people, more than 250,000 of whom have been forced to leave their homes.

Map showing Assam
On Wednesday, 12 people, travelling on a boat on the Brahmaputra River to safer ground, drowned in Nagaon district, and officials said efforts to find their bodies had failed.

On Monday, several embankments on the Brahmaputra breached engulfing more than 600 villages.

About 30,000 hectares of crops were also submerged.

The Deputy Commissioner of Dhemaji, BR Shyamal, told the BBC that relief camps were being set up to shelter thousands of marooned villagers.

He said it would take at least two months for the water levels to recede.

Officials say nearly 500,000 people have lost their homes in the district and the biggest problem now is a shortage of supplies for the relief camps.

They have appealed to international aid agencies to provide thousands of tarpaulins to be used as temporary shelters, as well as water purification tablets and medicines.

The authorities have also pressed into service motor and other boats to ferry those stranded to safer areas.

Annual problem

Parts of Assam and the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh remain cut off from the rest of the country as flood waters have destroyed transport links.

Floods in the north-east of India are an annual phenomenon.

In August 2000, floods in the region killed 100 people, and left 700,000 people homeless in Assam alone.

Environmentalists blame soil erosion, the silting of river beds and the increasing population of flood plains.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jill McGivering
"Days of heavy rain had already caused chaos in the area"
See also:

22 Jul 02 | South Asia
16 Jul 02 | South Asia
14 Jul 02 | South Asia
06 Aug 00 | South Asia
28 Jun 00 | Science/Nature
22 Feb 00 | South Asia
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