Seven drown in flooded northeast

  • Agence France-Presse, PTI
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 05, 2003 10:17 IST
Another seven people have drowned in the northeastern states, taking the toll to 13 since a fresh wave of flooding and mudslides engulfed the region a week ago, police said on Friday.

Some 652,000 people have been displaced by the floods, a police spokesman told AFP.

He said two youths were drowned in the western Dhubri district of Assam on Thursday, while two children were swept away by a strong river current in the eastern district of Dhemaji.

"The two children were drowned as their wooden boat capsized while trying to steer their way through a flooded stretch," the spokesman said.

"The two youths were trying to swim through a flooded area when they were swept away by the strong current," he added.

One person was drowned in each of northern Sonitpur and eastern Morigaon and Tinsukia districts Thursday.

"All three drowned in similar circumstances, with their rowboats or bamboo rafts capsizing in high floodwaters," the police official said.

At least six people died earlier -- two each in Assam and Meghalaya, and a baby girl in Tripura - in flashfloods and mudslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains that began June 27.

In Assam, the water level of the mighty Brahmaputra river was receding but it still breached several mud embankments overnight submerging hundreds of villages, the state government said.

"At least 17 of the total 24 districts in Assam has been hit by floods displacing 641,708 people so far," a government statement said on Friday.

"The situation is still criticial in many places but if it does not rain for the next two to three days, the situation will improve," Assam Revenue Minister Mithias Tudu told AFP.

A Central Water Commission bulletin Friday said the Brahmaputra was flowing above danger level in 10 main channels, although the trend was either falling or maintaining a steady flow.

At least 50 villages in Tripura state have also been swamped by floodwaters, with three main rivers in spate following torrential rains in the past four days.

More than 10,000 people have been left homeless in Tripura.

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