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Friday, July 25, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2008
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Thousands marooned by floods in northeast India

Flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have washed away thousands of homes and displaced more than 50,000 people in India's northeastern state of Assam, officials said yesterday.

A government spokesman said the state's eastern district of Lakhimpur was the worst hit, with an estimated 50 villages inundated by flooding that began Saturday.

"The situation is critical with many parts of the district under waist-deep water," Lakhimpur police chief SA Karim told AFP by telephone.

A government bulletin said the Brahmaputra river, which flows through Tibet, India and Bangladesh before emptying in the Bay of Bengal, and its tributaries were flowing above the danger mark in at least six places.

A first wave of monsoon flooding in Assam last month killed eight people and displaced 400,000 others, most of them also in Lakhimpur district.

"Thousands of people are taking shelter in makeshift camps and on embankments and other raised platforms," Karim said, adding that authorities were providing them with food.

The swirling waters of the 2,906-kilometre (1,816-mile) Brahmaputra river have been treacherous across the district, breaching more than a dozen embankments and sweeping away road bridges and stretches of highways.

Authorities said a railway bridge was also washed away, forcing the suspension of train services in the area.

Every year the monsoon causes the river -- one of Asia's longest -- to flood in Assam, a state of 26 million people.

In 2004, Assam saw some of its worst floods, which killed at least 200 people and displaced almost half the state's population.

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