Floods in India force almost a million people to flee homes


A mahout moves an elephant to higher ground as villagers paddle with their belongings through flood waters in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, some 55 kms from Guwahati, the capital city of the north-eastern state of Assam on June 28, 2012.



Floods in India have forced almost one million people to flee their homes, as violent monsoon rains rage down on the north-eastern state of Assam.

The state’s agriculture minister, Nilamoni Sen Deka, told the Agence France Presse that 27 people had been killed due to flooding, five of whom drowned in a swollen river when their boat sank, while around 900,000 others had been displaced from their homes. A state government spokesman told the news agency that flash floods had struck 21 of Assam’s 27 districts.

According to the BBC, Assam has been lashed by torrential rains for the past fortnight. The state’s health minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, told the BBC that all Assam’s major rivers – including one of Asia’s largest, the Brahmaputra –– were “running menacingly high with breaches reported in many places.”

More from GlobalPost: Old problems plague New India

According to Al Jazeera, the Indian Air Force has been delivering food packages to people seeking shelter on patches of dry land, while rescue teams are being dropped by helicopter into inundated areas to help those stranded by the flooding. The state’s telephone lines have been knocked out, while some rail services have been cancelled after train tracks were swamped by mud.

In neighboring Bangladesh four days of heavy monsoon rains have caused flash floods and landslides which have left at least 100 people dead and about a quarter of a million stranded.

More from GlobalPost: At least 100 dead, quarter million stranded in Bangladesh due to monsoon rains and landslides