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Bangladesh floods hit a million people

Floods killed four more children in Bangladesh, bringing the death toll from a weeklong monsoon deluge to 59.
PTI | By Associated Press, Dhaka
PUBLISHED ON JUL 02, 2003 10:20 AM IST

Floods killed four more children in Bangladesh, bringing the death toll from a weeklong monsoon deluge to 59 and afflicting about a million villagers in a third of the country, officials said on Tuesday.

The latest fatalities occurred Monday in the south and southeastern districts of Cox's Bazar, Bhola and Feni, government relief officials said on condition of anonymity.

Two children drowned in flood waters in Cox's Bazar, 300 kilometers (185 miles) south of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. The deluge washed away another two children in Bhola and Feni, the officials said.

Authorities said monsoon floods have inundated nearly 20 of Bangladesh's 64 districts, hitting nearly a million people, damaging crops and submerging roads.

Many of the affected people are marooned in their flooded homes, dependent on small boats for transportation. Many have lost crops, poultry and livestock.

Nearly 20,000 people left homeless by the floods have camped in school buildings or on flood embankments in parts of the affected areas, officials said. Relief officials said they distributed food and water among the victims.

Flood waters have submerged many wells, contaminating drinking water and causing diarrhea and fever.

Government workers and volunteers have dumped thousands of sand bags to protect mud embankments threatened by swollen rivers. Bangladesh, a delta nation of 130 million people, has a huge network of embankments meant to protect villages and towns from seasonal floods.

The weather office has warned that more monsoon rains are on the way.

The heavy rains have caused many of the country's 230 rivers to swell, threatening to inundate more areas, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center in Dhaka said.

Bangladesh has two of the world's large river basins _ the Ganges and the Brahmmaputra. The rivers originate in the Himalayas and run through India before draining out through Bangladesh into the Bay of Bengal.

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