India: Assam floods claim at least 30

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India (June 29, 2012) -- At least 30 people have died from flooding in the northeastern state of Assam this week, according to an official toll, while a million more people have been affected.

Five days of incessant rain caused an embankment to burst on the Brahmaputra River, submerging most of Majuli Island, the largest inhabited river island in the world, and causing many of its half a million people to lose their homes and property, including livestock.

The Putimary River has similarly burst its banks in four places, causing severe flooding in Rangia village in Kamrup district.

“The whole area is under water. People’s houses are submerged. They can neither cook nor buy food as shops and markets are flooded,” said Father Jeeson Thannikot, director of St Paul’s pastoral centre in Rangia.

“We witnessed a young man drowning but could not save him,” he added.


Catholic Church News Image of Assam floods claim at least 30


A woman is caught in flooding in Rangia village in Kamrup district, Assam

A boat carrying 100 people in Gopalpara district capsized yesterday, official sources said, with at least four people confirmed dead.

In Guwahati, the state’s largest city, residents were forced to vacate their homes after two roads were submerged, said Nabanita Borah, a local teacher.

She said she feared the “possibility of an outbreak of diseases due to stagnant water.”

Meanwhile, the army has started to help more than 3,000 stranded railway passengers reach their destinations after submerged tracks disrupted services, a situation that was made worse following landslides, said Jaydip Das, joint secretary of Tripura’s Transport Department.

Service disruptions would continue for up to 25 days, he added.

The endangered one-horned rhinoceros has also been affected by the flooding which hit Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Pabitora sanctuary.

Upwards of 2,000 villages have been caught up in the flooding which Indian officials said was made worse after neighboring Bhutan opened a dam gate.

More than 150,000 people are being housed in 173 relief camps, officials said.

Lissy Maruthanakuzhy, Guwahati