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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
India reels from floods and drought
Flooded village in Gopalgunj district, in the northeastern Indian state of Bihar
Floods have taken 140 lives in Bihar state alone

India is continuing to reel from the severe effects of both flooding and drought.

In one flood-hit district in the north-eastern state of Assam, more than 90% of the people have been affected and crops have been ruined.

Assam villagers abandon flooded home
Many Indians have been displaced by floods

In several other states by contrast, it is drought that has destroyed people's harvests.

India is used to having both too much and too little rain during this season, but the situation this year is especially severe.

Floods in the northern state of Bihar have affected 11 million people so far with 140 deaths reported.

Click here to see map of the region

In Assam to the north-east, flood waters caused by overflowing rivers are generally receding, but in one district, Morigaon, all crops have been destroyed and six people in every seven have been displaced.

Wool industry dying

In some areas, even relief camps have come under water and there is now a threat of water-borne diseases.

An Indian girl suffering encephalitis, which is transmitted by mosquitoes
Outbreaks of encephalitis come with the floods

At the same time, drought is ravaging the mainly desert state of Rajasthan, where all 41,000 villages have been declared as scarcity hit.

Tens of thousands of desperate and hungry villagers are pouring into the state capital Jaipur in search of work, but there is simply not enough to go round.

Reports from the town of Bikaner, India's biggest centre for wool production, say the wool industry is being destroyed as shepherds slaughter their dying animals or smuggle them into Pakistan.

Endless suffering

According to The Times of India newspaper, a memorandum prepared for a central government drought task force says crop harvest in parts of three states - Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh - are now irretrievable.

It says the drought-stricken states have estimated their relief requirements at no less than $2 billion.

The government now wants to send teams to the field to assess the situation for itself.

The suffering and misery caused by India once more getting rainfall in all the wrong places seems to know no end.


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See also:

02 Aug 02 | South Asia
31 Jul 02 | Business
26 Jul 02 | South Asia
26 Jul 02 | South Asia
25 Jul 02 | South Asia
25 Jul 02 | South Asia
17 Jul 02 | South Asia
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