[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Thousands flee floods in India's Assam state
At least 27 people killed and about a million people shifted as the swollen Brahmaputra river swamps villages.
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2012 17:40
Incessant rains in northeast India have caused massive flooding and landslides [Reuters]

Raging floodwaters fed by monsoon rains have inundated more than 2,000 villages in northeast India, killing at least 27 people and leaving hundreds of thousands more marooned Friday. 

The Indian Air Force was delivering food packages to people huddled on patches of dry land along with cattle and wild elephants. Rescuers were being dropped by helicopter into affected areas to help the stranded.

About 1 million people have been forced to evacuate as the floods from the swollen Brahmaputra River - one of Asia's largest - swamped 2,084 villages across most of Assam state, officials said.

More deaths likely

Officials have counted 27 people dead so far, but the toll is expected to be much higher as unconfirmed casualty reports mount.

Telephone lines were knocked out and some train services were canceled after their tracks were swamped by mud. As the floods soaked the Kaziranga game reserve east of Assam's capital of Gauhati, motorists reported seeing a one-horned rhino fleeing along a busy highway.

"We never thought the situation would turn this grim when the monsoon-fed rivers swelled a week ago," said Nilomoni Sen Deka, an Assam government minister.

Residents of Majuli - an 800-square-kilometer island in the middle of the Brahmaputra River - watched helplessly as the swirling, gray waters swallowed 50 villages and swept away their homes.

"We are left with only the clothes we are wearing," said 60-year-old Puniram Hazarika, one of about 75,000 island residents now camping in makeshift shelters of bamboo sticks and plastic tarps on top of a mud embankment.

A herd of 70 endangered Asiatic elephants, which usually avoid humans, were grouped together nearby, Majuli island wildlife official Atul Das said. "The jumbos have not caused any harm, but we are keeping a close watch," he said.

8 killed in Nepal
 
Meanwhile, an official in neighbouring Nepal said landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains have killed at least eight people and two more are missing.

National Emergency Operation Centre official Laxmi Prasad Dhakal said the landslide buried a house at Jamune village in Tanahu distrct on Thursday night, killing seven people. The area is about 200km west of Katmandu.

Another landslide in Hatiya village in Baglung district killed one person. Two other people are still missing and presumed to have died. Landslides are common in mountainous Nepal during the monsoon season that began this month.

436

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.