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Flood victims plead for food and safe water

Latest update : 2008-09-08

Tens of thousands of people remain stranded in northeastern India and Bangladesh due to devastating floods. With crops ruined, homeless victims have begged authorities for food and fresh drinking.

PATNA - Hungry villagers pleaded with authorities to rescue them
from flooded homes in eastern India on Monday, as
devastating floods continued to haunt millions in South Asia.


"We want to be evacuated, but no boats have come to take us
away to relief camps," Ravindra Yadav, a villager in flood-hit
Madhepura district said by telephone. "We are hungry, we are
dying."
 

The government said they will try to evacuate as many as
possible within the next two day, but those still stranded were
few.
 

About 20,000 villagers have refused to leave their homes,
saying they wanted to protect their belongings, officials said.
 

"(The evacuation) drive will continue as per the
requirement only," said Nitish Mishra, the disaster management
minister.
 

Aid agencies say there are still a few thousand people who
have no means to survive on their own anymore.
 

"We are waiting for the last three days to leave, but there
are no boats to save my family," said flood victim Badri
Sharma, who built a bamboo raft to flee, but which proved not
good enough to negotiate the swift river current.
 

 Flood waters in the eastern state of Bihar have been
receding over the past week in some areas, exposing bloated
bodies and rotting carcasses caught in bamboo groves and
bushes.
 

The floods have forced more than three million people from
their homes in Bihar, destroyed 100,000 ha (250,000 acres) of
farmland and killed at least 90 people.
 

The Kosi river, which originates in Nepal, burst a dam last
month and unleashed the worst flooding in Bihar in 50 years.
 

 Last week, authorities airdropped leaflets to villagers
appealing for thousands of people remaining in their homes to
evacuate as heavy rains risked more flooding.
 

The government has evacuated over 900,000 people already,
but there are still thousands who want to be evacuated.
 

Aid agencies say those marooned would probably die of
hunger.
 

"Only God knows what will happen to thousands of villagers
still trapped in their homes and waiting to be rescued," said
Bhagwanji Pathak, chairman of a local NGO working for the
displaced villagers.
 

FORCED TO SCAVENGE
 

Families who fled to makeshift camps were forced to
scavenge for scarce food in conditions that aid agencies warned
would expose thousands to outbreaks of disease.
 

Others were naming their newborns after the river in
remembrance of what was lost during the floods.
 

"One Kosi destroyed our life and house but this Kosi has
brought new joy in our life", said Rubi, a first-time mother.
 

In the northeastern Indian state of Assam, also facing
floods, at least 18 people have died and 1.3 million were
affected when heavy rains caused the Brahmaputra river, one of
the largest in Asia, to burst its banks.
 

State officials said the waters have been receding and
there have been no outbreaks of water borne diseases.
 

In neighbouring Bangladesh, flood waters continued to rise
due to heavy rains resulting in acute shortages of drinking
water and medicines, officials said.
 

The two-week old deluge swamped one third of the country's
districts, displacing 200,000 people from their homes and
affecting nearly four million.

Date created : 2008-09-08

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