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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2007, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
S Asia millions face flood hunger
People queue to see a doctor in Bihar
Many in Bihar say they have not had food supplies
Millions of people across South Asia are still facing hunger after some of the worst floods in decades, amid fears of disease and fights over supplies.

Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Congress party head Sonia Gandhi have visited the worst-hit region, in Bihar state, as anger rose over aid efforts.

The floods have killed 360 and affected 20m in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

In Bihar, at least six people died when a boat capsized, but dozens more are feared to have drowned.

Water levels have lowered in Bangladesh and Nepal but there are rising concerns there of waterborne disease.

Reports indicate more rain is now on the way and the flood season is likely to continue for several weeks.

'High gear'

The biggest challenge for relief workers remains in Bihar.

About 12m people are affected in the state, with hundreds of thousands still homeless or marooned, 10 days after the flooding first struck.

Bihar's relief official, Manoj Kumar Srivastava, said 880mm (34.5 inches) of rain had fallen in 15 days, but said relief efforts were now "in high gear".

"The situation is under control and we are reaching difficult areas through air-drops," Mr Srivastava said.

Bangladeshis using rafts to escape from Dhaka
Many Bangladeshis have fled to higher ground
But there have been reports of fights over limited supplies and of local officials stealing them.

Saryug Sahri, from the village of Pali, told AFP: "We cannot feed our family members and all houses of our village have been swept away and we have no money, so where do we go?"

Shauki Sani, from Majhouli village, said: "We have not received any relief or even a fistful of grains in the past 15 days."

One senior official and a police chief in Darbhanga district were reportedly abducted by angry villagers and only released with promises of an aid distribution centre.

Four helicopters have been making air-drops but locals and United Nations officials have said that is not enough.

This year the floods seem to be more ferocious and deadly than usual. Unfortinately the government still hasn't taken substantial steaps to help the victims
Indranil, Delhi

Bihar's misery was compounded by the boat accident on the flood-swollen River Ganges on Monday.

About 100 people were travelling in the boat when it capsized midstream.

About 30 people managed to swim to safety but six are confirmed dead and the rest missing.

State chief minister Nitish Kumar visited the scene and announced payments for the families of victims.

Disease fears

One of the major problems is the safety of drinking water supplies, with many people being forced to drink polluted water.

Monsoon graphic
Monsoon winds blow north-easterly for one half of the year, and from the south-west for the other half
South-westerly winds bring the heavy rains from June to Sept
Winds arrive in southern India six weeks before the north west
Annual rainfall varies considerably

LB Prasad, director general of health in the also-affected Uttar Pradesh state, said the risk of disease was high as wells had been contaminated.

He said more than 1,000 people had been reported sick in eastern districts.

Disease was also reported in southern Nepal.

Arjun Bahadur Singh, Nepal's health ministry spokesman, told AFP: "We are concerned about diarrhoea, dysentery and typhoid. There is no shortage of medicine. However, highways are blocked, there is no transportation."

Flooding has struck 33 of Nepal's 75 districts.

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Kathmandu says waters are receding fast but they are leaving in their wake a landscape of damaged buildings, collapsed embankments, destroyed bridges and waterlogged fields.

Water levels are at the moment easing in Bangladesh after some 40% of the country was submerged by flooding, but affected areas are reporting severe food shortages.

The country's interim government has appealed to wealthy citizens and foreign nations to help supply aid.

A flood victim says authorities are failing to do enough

South Asia flood death toll rises
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03 Aug 07 |  South Asia
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03 Aug 07 |  South Asia
S Asia floods: Worst-hit areas
03 Aug 07 |  South Asia
In pictures: Floods in South Asia
02 Aug 07 |  In Pictures


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