Troops rescue people marooned by Assam floods
India called out troops on Friday to rescue hundreds of people marooned in Assam, where more than 300,000 have been left homeless after heavy monsoon rains, officials said.india Updated: Jul 12, 2003 10:49 IST
India called out troops on Friday to rescue hundreds of people marooned in Assam, where more than 300,000 have been left homeless after heavy monsoon rains, officials said.
Soldiers in motorboats ferried at least 150 families to safer places as heavy monsoon showers and overflowing rivers inundated thousands of villages in the tea- and oil-rich state.
"Soldiers equipped with motorboats are on maximum alert to carry out evacuations anywhere in the state," Major Jaideep Ghose told Reuters.
Flooding has created food shortages and washed away thousands of bamboo and straw huts, as well as roads, bridges, railway tracks and phone and power lines in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
India has set up emergency camps to provide shelter, food, clothing and medicines to the homeless.
Authorities said the swelling waters of Assam's main river, the Brahmaputra, were likely to rise further, triggering fears road and rail links with the rest of the country would be cut.
Residents living near the river in the region's main city, Guwahati, have been forced to abandon their homes.
The monsoon is India's economic lifeline, with more than 70 percent of its one billion plus people relying on agriculture for a living.
But parts of the country, such as Assam, where more than 100 rivers flow from surrounding mountains, are ill-equipped to deal with the annual deluge.
Monsoon rains have killed more than 180 people in eastern India, Nepal and Bangladesh this season.
In neighbouring Bangladesh, at least 10,000 have been driven from their homes. Around 5,500 people in Nepal have lost their homes over the past 15 days in floods and mudslides.
First Published: Jul 12, 2003 10:49 IST