Floods displace 66,000 people in India

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Floods caused by summer monsoon rains displaced about 66,000 people in India’s northeast, while heavy rains disrupted traffic in eastern India, officials said on Friday.

In northeastern Assam state, floodwaters from the Brahmaputra River had inundated about 13,000 hectares of land, the state government said.

“The affected people have been shifted to safer places with relief materials distributed among the flood-hit victims,” a statement said.

No casualties were reported from Assam, but heavy rains and lightning storms have claimed at least 140 lives since the monsoon hit last month.

According to the Central Water Commission, the Brahmaputra was flowing above the danger level in at least six places. The 2,906 kilometres river – one of Asia’s longest – traverses China’s Tibet region, India and Bangladesh before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

Every year the monsoon causes the river to flood, submerging paddy fields, washing away villages, drowning livestock and killing many in the remote state of 26 million people.

In 2004, at least 200 people died and more than 12 million were displaced in the floods.

In the eastern city of Patna, three consecutive days of heavy rain flooded homes and roads, disrupting traffic, correspondents said.

In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where water in four rivers was close to danger level, the government had sanctioned three billion rupees for the construction and maintenance of embankments, officials said.

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