Devastating floods hit
BBCNews.com, Aug. 5, 2007
Almost 20 million people have been displaced as some of the worst floods for years have hit a wide swathe of northern
Roads have been washed away and hundreds of villages have been cut off by swollen rivers.
A BBC correspondent in the Indian state of
Hundreds of thousands of people across the affected area are at risk from hunger and disease.
The BBC's South Asia correspondent, Damian Grammaticas, says that food, clean drinking water and medical aid are the priorities, but just a fraction of those who need them are receiving supplies as aid agencies and government teams struggle to get through.
It has been raining heavily in the region for 20 days. Some rivers have seen their levels rise nine or 10 metres, swamping embankments and submerging huge tracts of land.
Initial government figures say at least 125 people have been killed in
It means that more than 1,000 people have died across
The number of dead is expected to rise sharply as news comes in from more remote areas. An estimated five million hectares of farm land is under water.
In some areas, the floods are being called the worst in living memory.
The bulk of the rain is now expected in central
People in the state have clashed with police in their desperation for food, shelter and medicine.
In Uttar Pradesh the army was called in to evacuate 500 villages.
The two worst affected districts are reported to be
At least 121 relief camps and 34 cattle camps have been set up in the flood-affected areas of
Many roads and bridges in the states of Bihar and
Officials in the Bangladeshi district of Sirajganj are struggling to reach some of those marooned by the rising waters.
The BBC's John Sudworth - in Sirajganj - says that a lack of boats is hampering the relief effort, so rafts are being constructed from banana trees.
Furthermore, there are food shortages.
"Everything is underwater," says mother of seven Musamat Manwara Khatoum as she stands knee-deep in water.
"We've lost our crops, there's nowhere to put the children down, not even a place to cook."
Forecasters in the area say some river levels are still rising but the situation is not yet as severe as the flooding in 2004 in which 700 people lost their lives and millions had to leave their homes.
The country's Red Cross says a quarter of a million people have been affected by rains.
There have been deadly landslides in the highlands and floods have hit dozens of districts in the low-lying Terai region.
THE AFFECTED AREAS