08/03/2007, 00.00
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Desperate fury of flood victims of South Asia

Monsoon rains in India and Bangladesh have caused the displacement of more than 19 million people and 174 deaths. In Assam, the people, frustrated by delays in aid delivery, have clashed with police; several protesters were injured.

Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More than 19 million people have been affected by heavy floods caused by monsoon rains pelting down on northern India and Bangladesh. Meanwhile, tension is escalating among the people who, desperately hungry and frustrated by delays in the arrival of aid, are clashing with police. The latest official death toll of victims in the two South Asian countries is 174. Around 14 million people in India and 5.5 million in Bangladesh have been displaced or flooded out of their homes; there have been 120 victims in the first state and 54 in the second.

According to local authorities, around 12 million people are without food, drinking water and medical treatment in the hardest hit areas of India – (east) Bihar and Assam (north-east). In the state of Assam – where three million out of 27 million residents have been left homeless and floods have destroyed 700,000 hectares of arable land – people clashed with police in different areas; they were asking the authorities for food, tents and medicine. Official sources said many demonstrators were injured and police officers had to fire into the air in a bid to stop the violence.

In nearby Bangladesh, where more than half the districts are still being flooded, 54 people lost their lives in recent days. Thousands of families have moved to around 1,000 reception camps that were set up, but many others are living on the streets, without shelter, while cases of dysentery and skin infections are on the rise. Weather forecasters predict more rains and have warned that the capital Dhaka could be seriously affected in the days to come.

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