Flood-affected residents move to safer places on their buffaloes after heavy rains at Kushiani village in India.
The north-eastern Indian state of Assam and several parts of neighbouring Bangladesh have been hit by the worst floods in recent memory, necessitating evacuation of thousands of people. More than 25 people have died so far, according official estimates in India. The region has been witnessing torrential rains for the past two weeks.
At least 2,000 villages have been submerged in Assam. Food packages have been dropped from helicopters by emergency teams for the marooned people. As much as 35 tons of food materials have been served to the flood victims.
According to AFP, Assam's Agriculture Minister Nilamoni Sen Deka said up to 900,000 people have been displaced. Communication and transportation facilities have been badly hit.
Thousands of temporary shelters have been set up in nearby dry areas. "Most of the displaced people have been forced to take shelter on raised platforms and in tarpaulin tents," AFP quoted Sen Deka as saying.
Assam is used to natural calamities like floods but these are said to be the worst since 2004.
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"A large number of villages in these three districts have been affected due to incessant rain over the three days. Six army columns, comprising 200 army personnel with flood relief equipment, are carrying out rescue operation under the supervision of Brigadier Beant Parmar, commander, Hamesha Aaage Brigade,"Lt Col SS Phogat said.
Most of the rivers in the region are reported to be flowing alarmingly high threatening to breach the banks any moment.
The floods have also forced wild elephants out of their natural habitats but they have not caused any havoc so far. "The jumbos have not caused any harm, but we are keeping a close watch," a wildlife official Atul Das told Associated Press.
Worse in Bangladesh
The scene is much worse in Bangladesh where more than 100 people have been killed. Scores of others are reportedly missing as their houses were washed away in the floods.
Thousands of relief workers have been pressed into service to tackle the situation. Rail and air links to some parts of the country have been totally cut-off leaving several people to suffer.
Bangladesh has also been hit by heavy landslides. "There was a sudden rumble above us, and then before we could get out of our homes, we were buried in mud up to our waists. My family was pulled out. But several of my neighbours couldn't get out. They died in their sleep," the Wall Street Journal reported 36-year-old Morzina Begum as saying. She was rescued by local volunteers.
Some of them had mistaken the floods for rampage of wild elephants and stayed inside their houses which cost them their lives. Bangladesh authorities fear that more people may have been trapped under the mud.
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