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Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Over 1,000 dead in Indian floods
Villager carrying child to safety
Flood waters are creating harsh conditions for West Bengalis
The official death toll from floods in the Indian state of West Bengal has risen above the 1,000 mark as flood waters recede revealing dead bodies.

West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu said that 400 bodies had been recovered in the last four days alone and another 100 people were still missing.

The situation in the 24-Parganas district east of Calcutta was especially difficult, with some areas still under three metres of water.

Some people were sheltering on elevated railway tracks and highways while others were forced to stay up trees and lamp posts without food and water.

Millions of people have been affected by the floods in West Bengal and neighbouring Bangladesh, said to be the worst monsoon rains for 20 years.

Risk of disease

International Red Cross official Fernando Soares said some areas had been flooded for as long as two weeks.

One man had to swim 10 km to get supplies for his family, he said, adding that the water level in the man's village was up to his neck.

IRC medical officer Jari Vainio said that there was a risk of water borne diseases because of lack of access to clean drinking water.

According to doctors, hundreds of people were already suffering from gastro-enteritis in the worst-affected areas.


Across the border in Bangladesh, conditions are said to be improving slowly although thousands are still waiting for materials to help them rebuild their homes.

Around 700,000 are still being sheltered in camps.

Bangladeshi children evacuated from flooded area
Hundreds of thousands are still homeless
The UN Resident Co-ordinator in Dhaka, Jorgen Lissner, said that more relief teams would be sent to affected areas.

UN food aid would be restricted to the most vulnerable groups as the government had enough food stocks to meet relief requirements.

Officials at the country's Flood Warning Centre said that waters were receding gradually in some districts but a local journalist told the BBC that there had been fresh floods in the coastal Satkhira district.

Thirty villages in the district have already been swamped following the collapse of a river dyke there two days ago which left people stranded on their rooftops.

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See also:

02 Oct 00 | South Asia
India 'made floods worse'
30 Sep 00 | South Asia
Floods hit 20 million
30 Sep 00 | South Asia
Struggle to reach flood victims
26 Sep 00 | South Asia
Thousands flee flood-alert in Calcutta
10 Aug 00 | South Asia
Analysis: India's wet spots
10 Aug 00 | G-I
India flood: disease threat
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