Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Monday, 16 June 2008 15:39 UK

Twenty-three dead in India floods

Floods in Assam, June 2008
Assam is regularly hit by floods (Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharya)

The number of people killed in landslides and floods caused by heavy rain in north-eastern India has risen to 23, officials say.

They say hundreds of homes have been destroyed in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam leaving thousands of people displaced.

Reports say the main Brahmaputra river and its tributaries are flowing above the danger level in many places.

The region has been hit by particularly heavy monsoon rains in recent days.

Forecasters are predicting further downpours in the coming hours.

Officials say that at least 50,000 people in one district in Assam were taken by boat over the weekend from flooded areas to higher ground.

The Assam state government said that the army was on standby in case soldiers were needed to help rescue trapped villagers elsewhere in the state.

Assam was ravaged by floods at least three times last year.

Flood waters have submerged parts of the highway which connects the state with the rest of India.

The monsoon reached Delhi earlier than usual this year - normally the rain does not arrive in the capital until the beginning of July.

The rainfall - while vital for many famers - can also be deadly in hilly areas of the country which are more more prone to landslides, flash floods and building collapses.

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