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The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"The water has submurged 2,000 villages"
 real 56k

The BBC's Tim Irwin reports from Assam
"Makeshift shelters now line the streets"
 real 56k

Patrick Fuller of the International Red Cross
"Many of the areas remain inaccessible"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Asian flood toll rising
map
Rescue workers in Bhutan have recovered nearly 200 bodies from several villages which have been struck by landslides and heavy rain in the past three days.

Many others are feared missing in the rubble of hundreds of houses and buildings which have been buried or destroyed.
Flood disaster
More than 200 dead in Bhutan
At least 12 dead in Bangladesh
More than 100 dead in Himachal Pradesh
Several million homeless across region

Millions have been left homeless as heavy rain led to rising river levels across the Himalayan region in Bhutan, Nepal and north-east India.

Officials say there are now signs the floodwaters are starting to recede.

However, aid agencies are warning of the threat of disease epidemics.

There are fears that malaria, encephalitis and typhoid will claim more lives than the flooding itself.

In India, rising floodwaters along the banks of the Brahmaputra river have already submerged the homes of more than two million people and left at least 80 dead.

Shantipur, 100 kms. north of Calcutta
The Assam region is completely cut off
Indian troops and engineers have joined Bhutanese army soldiers in the rescue work.

Army and air force helicopters have dropped food, medicine and tents to hundreds of thousands of people stranded on rooftops.

Military officials told the BBC the landslides had destroyed at least seven villages between the townships of Phuentsholing and Chhukha in southern Bhutan.

The highway that connects the north and south of the kingdom has also been been cut off.

Rescue and relief officials said their operation had been hampered by heavy rains and landslides which continued until late on Sunday.

Rising waters

In north east India, heavy rains have caused the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries to rise and overflow, flooding acres of land.


It is physically impossible to reach all the affected villages

Assam Minister Promode Gogoi
More than two million people are homeless and air force and army teams are struggling to get food and medical supplies to the tens of thousands who are stranded.

"We are surviving on coconut water and a few grains of puffed rice which we managed to carry with us after flood waters engulfed our village," Phani Das told the AFP news agency.

Many parts of the flood-hit areas are now only accessible by boat.

"We are trying our best to provide them all help but it is physically impossible to reach all the affected villages," Assam's Flood Control Minister, Promode Gogoi said.

Floods have also caused death and destruction in the Indian states of West Bengal and Bihar and the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal.

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