The New York Times,
NEW DELHI Millions of farmers and their families may be displaced for months after severe floods in northern India wiped out crops and homes, leaving hundreds of villages under several feet of water.
Rescue efforts continued on Friday, and boats were dispatched and trains mobilized to find and move millions who have been left stranded by the rising waters. More than 2.1 million people and over 394 square miles have been affected by the flooding, the
Evacuees may not be able to return to their homes, if those homes still exist, until fall, state government officials said. This water will remain for some time, said Devi Rajak, the chief engineer for
The breach in the dam that caused the flooding is eight miles inside
The Nepalese government said that work to fix the break was under way, and that its officials were cooperating with the Indian government. The river has flooded its banks in
About a quarter of a million homes in
The official death toll from the flooding was set at 12 by the
We are helpless, Rajiv Kumar Singh, 36, said in a telephone interview from Singheshwar, a village in the flooded Madhepura district of Bihar. Some people have been washed away as their families watched, he said, and survivors have been living for days on the roadside, in government offices or in schools. This whole area is under three or four feet of water, he said, adding that fevers and diarrhea were spreading. There is only one doctor here, and he cannot cater to all the people, he said.
Kamlesh Prasad Singh, 50, a farmer from the village of Patori in the Madhepura district, said in a telephone interview that his village was full of water four or five feet deep. I left my home, my five cattle and my six acres of rice fields behind, he said. I am completely ruined.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared the situation a national calamity on Thursday and said the government had earmarked about $230 million in aid for the region.
Water continued to flow into new areas on Friday, and helicopters, hundreds of military boats and thousands of enlisted personnel were picking up stranded people.
Trains full of supplies were being sent from
Food riots as Indian floods destroy 250,000 homes
Reuters News Service,
PATNA, India, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Food riots erupted on Wednesday in eastern India, where more than two million people have been forced from their homes and about 250,000 houses destroyed in what officials say are the worst floods in 50 years.
One person was killed in Madhepura district when angry villagers fought among themselves over limited supplies of food and medicines at overcrowded relief centres.
The Kosi river in
The floods have since killed nearly 50 people in
Torrential rains have killed more than 1,000 people in
Some experts blame the floods on heavier monsoon rains caused by global warming, while others say authorities have failed to take enough preventive measures to improve infrastructure.
Officials said flood victims had looted grains at some places in
"We have enough stock of food grains but the problem is that we have limited means of transport to supply them among the villagers," Rajesh Kumar Gupta, a government official in Madhepura, told Reuters by telephone.
Several prisoners took advantage of the floods and escaped from a jail in Supaul on Tuesday night, officials said.
"We are having difficulty in getting the exact number of prisoners who fled since communication networks have totally snapped," said Nitish Kumar,
The U.N. children's fund UNICEF said roads had been damaged and water and electricity supplies disrupted in the affected areas. Railway tracks have been submerged and essential commodities, including food, are being transported by boat.
FLOATING ON TREE TRUNKS
Those displaced by the floods are not expected to be able to return home for another two or three months, when the embankment is repaired and the river moves back to its normal course.
"We are appealing to villagers to evacuate the (flooded) areas,"
"They must understand that they are right in middle of the river and the monsoon season is still in progress."
Local people call the Kosi the "Sorrow of Bihar" for its regular floods and ability to change course quickly. It originates in
UNICEF said cases of diarrhoea and fever were being reported in makeshift camps.
"The weather has been extremely hot, aggravating the suffering of the displaced population, particularly for children, pregnant and lactating women and the aged," it said.
Television images showed people using banana tree trunks and cots to stay afloat, some even with their cattle and goats.
Officials said floods had destroyed more than 227,000 homes and damaged about 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of wheat and paddy crops.
Last year, floods in eastern
Engineers began repairing the broken dam on the Kosi river in
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