Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 12:20 UK

Assam flooding 'strands 500,000'

By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

A minor girl paddles a country boat at Kakadhowa village in lower Assam, 100 kilometers (69 miles) west of Gauhati, India, Monday, July 6, 2009
Officials blamed the latest flooding on incessant rain in the Himalayas

Half a million people have been stranded after floods inundated the north-eastern Indian state of Assam, officials say.

Local officials warned the situation was worsening because most of the rivers in the state were still rising.

India's Brahmaputra river was reported to be flowing through the state at a dangerously high level.

Floods in India usually occur during the monsoon season, which generally lasts from June to September.

The districts worst affected by the flooding were Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Jorhat, Assam government spokesman Dinesh Deka told the BBC

He said the situation was particularly bad in the sub-division of Dhakuwakhana where the waters of the Brahmaputra had seeped through the unrepaired gaps of the embankment at Matmara.

Officials have blamed the latest flooding on incessant rain in the Himalayas.

As floodwaters breached river banks, vast tracts of arable land became submerged affecting more than 100,000 hectares of crops, Mr Deka said.

Local officials have been providing food to flood victims living in relief camps located on higher ground.

But no relief measures had been taken for the thousands of cattle and livestock trapped in the floods, local correspondents said.

In Majuli, the world's largest inhabited river island, a breach in the embankment left more than 100,000 people stranded.

Rescuers are heading to the area to help those affected there.

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