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Floods kill 40 in India, millions homeless
Updated: 2004-07-11 14:42

At least 40 people packed into a wooden boat drowned in northeastern India after torrential annual rains and swollen rivers set off floods that have left millions homeless, officials said Sunday.

The villagers, including many women and children, were trying to escape to higher ground in the state of Assam on Saturday night when their boat capsized. There were no survivors, a police official said

All rivers in tea and oil-rich Assam, including the main Brahmaputra, are overflowing after incessant rains in the past week.

"More than two million people have become homeless because of floods," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told Reuters.

Military helicopters and soldiers in motor boats were trying to rescue thousands of people marooned across the state, he said.

Floods in Assam caused by heavy rains that lash the state for about seven months from April to October bring death and destruction each year.

A breach in a dam in Tsatitsu lake in the neighboring nation of Bhutan had swollen the floods in Assam, a flood control official said.

Flood waters have inundated highways and railway tracks and washed away several bridges in western Assam, said S. R. Islam, a senior flood control official.

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