Waters rise as Indian floods hit nearly 5m

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The Independent Online

Rivers rose again in north-east India yesterday, leaving no relief in sight for victims of floods that have left some 300 people feared dead and a million made homeless across India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Rivers rose again in north-east India yesterday, leaving no relief in sight for victims of floods that have left some 300 people feared dead and a million made homeless across India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

The local weather office has forecast more rain during the next 24 hours, raising fears that the toll could climb.

Official figures from the four countries show that 194 people have died and 115 gone missing since swollen rivers began gushing off the Himalayas more than two weeks ago.

Patrick Fuller, a spokesman for the Red Cross, said the floods had affected 3.1 million people in Assam and 1.6 million in Bihar. He said there was no way of telling how many of these people had lost their homes.

Authorities in Assam, where survivors now face hunger and the threat of water-borne diseases, have stepped up relief work. Two hundred refugee camps were set up on Wednesday in addition to the 350 already operating across the north-eastern state.

Many survivors in Assam packed their belongings on boats and put up temporary tarpaulin shelters on elevated highways. At Khopanikuchi, 22 miles west of Guwahati, Assam's main city, survivors complained that no rescue team or doctor had visited them.

"We are boiling floodwater to drink and fishing in the same water to eat," said one survivor, Tazimuddin Ahmed. "Nobody has helped us." (Reuters)

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