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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 July, 2004, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Bangladesh flood crisis worsens
Flood victims in Bangladesh
Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis have been affected
The UN has warned of a humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh where floods have claimed more than 300 lives.

The Bangladesh state news agency said the deaths were the result of drowning, disease and snakebite.

High tides in the Bay of Bengal are a major concern, says the UN World Food Programme, as they could stop flood waters flowing into the sea.

Officials say more than two-thirds of Bangladesh is inundated. Monsoon floods also continue to hit parts of India.

About 40% of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, is under water and in places the sewage system has failed, sending foetid water flowing into the streets.

Conditions are getting worse every day. The water is rising and bringing in more filth
Dhaka resident Abu Kalam

Vast swathes of the country are under water, with roads and railways washed away and crops devastated - raising the prospect of food shortages if floods prevent a second sowing.

Another 58 deaths were reported on Monday.

The government is still refusing to call for international help saying its own relief efforts are enough, but several large NGOs have said it should now reconsider.

And a UN spokesman warned the worst may be yet to come, as rising tides in the Bay of Bengal in early August "would considerably limit the outflow of flood waters into the sea".

He said the WFP had made plans to distribute 3,000 tons of rice to flood victims.

Disease fears

Dozens of medical teams are working in Dhaka to ward off the threat of disease with the city's sewage system broken down.

ASIAN MONSOON
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

"Conditions are getting worse every day. The water is rising and bringing in more filth," Abu Kalam is quoted as saying by Reuters.

"We are living in an open sewer."

The BBC's Roland Buerk in Dhaka says the poor are worst affected, as slum housing has been constructed in the capital's low-lying areas.

In some parts of the city, he says, boats are now the only way to get about.

The floods have sown devastation in low-lying coastal regions of South Asia.

Receding waters in eastern India's Bihar state have revealed more than 100 drowned bodies, pushing the total toll from floods in the region above 1,000.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Bihar on Tuesday and toured four flood-affected districts.

He said he would send a federal team to Bihar next week to assess the damage caused by the floods after which more funds would be granted.

More than 100 people have also died in the north-east Indian state of Assam, after the Brahmaputra river burst its banks.

Millions of people have been badly affected and essential supplies are running low.

"There is an acute scarcity of baby food and over 500,000 babies affected during the floods are starving," Assam Health Minister Bhumidhar Burman said.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Roland Buerk
"The victims of Bangladesh's floods are becoming increasingly desperate"



SEE ALSO:
Dhaka floods prompt sewage fears
26 Jul 04  |  South Asia
Bangladesh battles flood chaos
20 Jul 04  |  South Asia
In pictures: South Asia's flood battle
20 Jul 04  |  In Pictures
South Asia flood misery spreads
17 Jul 04  |  South Asia


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