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Floods leave 150,000 homeless in Assam

Flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have left at least 150,000 people homeless in India's northeastern state of Assam, officials said Saturday.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2003 15:51 IST

Flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have left at least 150,000 people homeless in Assam, officials said on Saturday.

The southern district of Hailakandi and eastern district of Dhemaji are worst affected by the flooding which began Thursday night.

In Hailakandi, 340 kilometres (210 miles) from the state capital Guwahati, the surging waters of the river Barak submerged a large number of villages late Friday.

"About 130 villages have been inundated affecting at least 150,000 people," K. K. Kalita, Hailakandi district magistrate, told AFP by telephone.

He said hundreds of people were taking shelter on raised mud embankments, while scores were staying at schools and other government buildings in higher areas.

"Thousands of people are staying put in their homes, some constructing raised platforms using bamboo poles, to escape the floodwaters," Kalita said.

"We shall call out the army if the situation further worsens to rescue marooned villagers. But so far the situation is not as bad as it sounds."

In Dhemaji, floodwaters of the river Jiadhol, a tributary of the main Brahmaputra river, breached an embankment Thursday night.

"It is a matter of time before the floodwaters enter clusters of villages. The mood of the river is threatening," a police official in Dhemaji said.

A Central Water Commission bulletin Saturday said the Brahmaputra was showing rising all along its course.

"The water level of the Brahmaputra is expected to rise in the next 48 hours," the bulletin said.

Some four million people were left homeless in Assam last year after the Brahmaputra flooded.

First Published: Jun 14, 2003 15:51 IST