BARABANKI, -- Torrential overnight rains compounded the misery of 2 million
marooned Indian villagers, but the seasonal flooding was expected to ease in the
next few days after claiming at least 289 lives across South Asia, officials
said on August 5.
Helicopters dropped food and the army helped civil authorities carry out
rescue operations. They also brought aid to hundreds of thousands of people who
had escaped to high ground near national highways and railway tracks in India's
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states last week. Most villagers took their cows,
buffaloes and goats to makeshift shelters.
At least 39 deaths were reported in Bangladesh and 21 in India over the
weekend, raising Bangladesh's overall death toll to 120 and India's to 169,
according to government figures available on Sunday.
Some 19ork their way across the subcontinent, a deluge that scatters floods
and landslides across the region and kills hundreds of people every year.
As a rain-free Sunday saw major rivers receding in the worst-hit districts in
India, doctors and paramedics started supplying medicine to people to prevent
diarrhea, skin allergies and other waterborne diseases, said S. K. Gupta, an
Indian army officer.
Army doctors treated 235 people suffering from waterborne diseases in
makeshift camps near Gorakhpur, a town 250 kilometers (155 miles) southeast of
Uttar Pradesh's state capital, Lucknow, said Gupta, who is commanding a unit
involved in relief operations.
"Our effort is to prevent the outbreak of an epidemic," he told The
Major rivers have also started receding in worst-hit eastern and central
Bangladesh with monsoon rains weakening, the Flood Forecasting and Warning
Center said Sunday in a bulletin in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital.
In India, an elderly couple and two of their relatives, who refused to leave
their village, were crushed to death when their home collapsed on them on
Saturday night in northern Uttar Pradesh state, Surendra Srivastava, a police
spokesman, said on Sunday.
"These four people, all in 70s, were living on the rooftop of their home," he
said. Their village, Karonda, is nearly 60 kilometers (afer places," Srivastava
told The Associated Press.
At least 11 people died in Uttar Pradesh state, mostly in house collapses, on
Saturday, he said.
Another 10 deaths were reported in eastern Bihar state, said Manoj
Srivastava, the state disaster management secretary.
Ganeshganj was a thriving timber market town until last week. It's under
water now with the nearby Ghaghra River breaching its embankments.
"It's the fifth day today (Sunday) that my shop is closed. We are praying to
God to save us from this calamity," said Maiku Lal, sitting close to his flooded
Helicopters continued dropping packets of flour, salt, candles and match
boxes to marooned villagers in India's Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states, officials
Floodwaters were receding in eastern Bihar state where nearly 10 million
people in 19 of the state's 36 districts have been affected, said Manoj
Srivastava, the disaster management secretary. The weather has cleared with no
rains over the past three days in the state.
"Once road links are restored, the flow of relief material will naturally
improve," said Manoj Srivastava.
People started returning to their homes in India's northeastern state of
Assam where nearly 200,000 people have been living in government and makeshift
camps since last week. Floods in the state have eased as it has not rained
thereernment, visited the northwestern district of Sirajganj on Saturday.
Despite the devastation, he said the government had enough food and medicine to
distribute and foreign assistance wasn't yet needed.
One person looking for that help was 45-year-old Aleya Begum, who took
shelter on an embankment with more than 50 other families after their homes
washed away in Pabna, 75 miles north of the capital, Dhaka.
She said the group was short of drinking water.
"I've lost everything. We need help from the government to survive," Begum
Low-lying areas around Dhaka were under neck-deep water, and many residents
were using boats to travel around.
So far this year, some 14 million people in India and 5 million in Bangladesh
have been displaced by flooding, according to government figures.
Associated Press reporters Parveen Ahmed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wasbir Hussain
in Gauhati and Photographer Rajesh Singh in Uttar Pradesh, India contributed to