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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Bangladesh appeals for flood aid
Flooding scene in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bangladesh is suffering its worst flooding in six years
Bangladesh, suffering from its worst floods in six years, will need food aid for 20 million people until the end of this year, a senior minister has said.

Food and disaster management minister Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusouf said the food was needed because crops and jobs had been lost in the floods.

The flood waters have covered 60% of a nation of 140 million people.

Bangladesh's government has estimated the damage to roads, bridges, schools and hospitals at $7bn.

Some 600 people have died in the flooding that has left at least 30m people homeless or stranded.


Mr Yusouf said that 20 million people will be "needing food assistance" from the government until December.

The next rice harvest in Bangladesh is now nine months away
Douglas Casson Coutts
World Food Programme

He said starvation was unlikely. "We are getting international assistance in addition to our own food stocks."

The United Nations is preparing to appeal to member countries for more money to help distribute food and medicine and to rebuild infrastructure once the waters subside.

Aid agencies on the ground say Bangladesh has sufficient emergency supplies of food, but the difficulty is getting it to areas cut off by the flooding.

Makeshift raft in Sunamganj
The word 'monsoon' comes from the Arabic for 'season'
Describes seasonal reversals of wind direction
From April heat builds over South Asia, creating low pressure areas
Brings moisture-rich south-west winds in from the ocean

Flood water levels are going down in the country, but outbreaks of diarrhoea are increasing.

The BBC's Roland Buerk in Dhaka reports over 100,000 people have contracted diarrhoea. Doctors say they expect the numbers to rise sharply in the coming weeks.

The flood waters are leaving behind mud mixed with raw sewage in the capital.

Authorities said that it will take at least another week to drain the flooded city completely.

Around a quarter of a million people are still living in flood shelters in Dhaka.

Forecasters say they expect the rivers in the north and north-east of Bangladesh to continue to recede.

But they are also warning of more rain by the middle of August.

The BBC's Roland Buerk
"The only way many people can get to work is by boat"

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