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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Deadly landslide in S Asia floods
Bangladeshis queue for water in Dhaka - 15/08/2007
Disease is now the biggest fear in flood-hit Bangladesh
Five people are confirmed dead and 55 are missing believed dead after heavy rain triggered a landslide that buried Dharla village in the Indian Himalayas.

Record rainfall across Himachal Pradesh state in the past several days has led to the deaths of 40 other people.

The landslide follows massive flooding in large parts of India and Nepal and in Bangladesh where there are serious outbreaks of water-borne diseases.

Figures for the death toll from the floods vary widely from 1,000 to 3,000.

At least 20 million people across South Asia have been affected by the floods.

'Completely crushed'

The army has been called in to help look for bodies in Dharla village in Himachal Pradesh.

Map

An Indian police official in Dharla told Reuters news agency he did not expect to find any survivors from the landslide that buried the village.

"Huge boulders 20 to 25-feet high have completely crushed the houses," said Vidya Chand Negi.

"There is so much debris that has fallen on the houses that nothing except [a] few lanterns are visible."

He said 14 houses and a health centre had been buried under the mud and rocks.

At least 40 other people have been killed elsewhere in the state as a result of landslides, flash floods and house collapses caused by the heavy rain.

'Grim situation'

At least 500 people in Bangladesh have died from this year's monsoon floods, including 38 on Tuesday night, officials said.

Flooded village in India's Bihar state - 15/08/2007
With such an enormous body of water no wonder these earth embankments give way
Ian Bray, Oxfam

At least 110,000 people have been admitted to hospitals to be treated for water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea since flooding began in late July.

To deal with the outbreak of disease, the government has deployed mobile medical teams, cancelled leave for doctors and set up a temporary hospital to deal with diarrhoea patients in the capital, Dhaka.

"The overall diarrhoea situation is grim," said Ayesha Khatoon, a senior government health official. "Every day there is a rush of patients."

The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research admitted more than 1,000 patients on Tuesday, its highest number ever.

"We expect the flow will increase further," said Dr Asharul Islam Khan.

THE ASIAN MONSOON
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

As the flood waters recede, many people in relief camps are returning to what is left of their homes with little food or clean drinking water.

United Nations aid agencies are distributing food aid, water purification kits and mosquito nets to affected areas of India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Oxfam has blamed poorly built or maintained embankments for worsening the flooding in Bangladesh and India.

India's Bihar state was the worst hit, followed by Uttar Pradesh.

An Oxfam aid worker told the BBC news website that floodwaters racing down the Kamla river in Bihar tore huge gaps in the river's flood defences.

"When the river is in full flow there is upwards of 2.4m (8ft) of water one mile (1.6km) wide," said Ian Bray.

"With such an enormous body of water no wonder these earth embankments give way.

"It is just like the levies breaking outside New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck," he said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Footage of the landslide in the Indian Himalayas




SEE ALSO
Aid worker diary: Indian floods
13 Aug 07 |  South Asia
Surviving on snails and rats in Bihar
09 Aug 07 |  South Asia
In pictures: S Asia flood relief
07 Aug 07 |  In Pictures
South Asia flood death toll rises
07 Aug 07 |  South Asia
What is the South Asia monsoon?
03 Aug 07 |  South Asia
South Asia considers flood lessons
03 Aug 07 |  South Asia
S Asia floods: Worst-hit areas
03 Aug 07 |  South Asia

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