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India flood displaces 2 million

August 31, 2008|From Reuters

PATNA, INDIA — Indian authorities, hampered by heavy rain and damaged roads, were struggling Saturday to get aid to hundreds of thousands of displaced villagers in the eastern state of Bihar, hit by the worst flooding in 50 years.

The Kosi River burst a dam in neighboring Nepal earlier this month, deluging Bihar and drowning village after village in its path as authorities failed to evacuate millions in time.

About 85 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced by floodwaters that smashed houses and inundated 247,000 acres of farmland.

"Rains are killing our rescue and relief efforts," said Bihar disaster management minister Nitish Mishra.

On Friday, an overcrowded army boat carrying dozens of people overturned in the swollen river. At least 20 people drowned and 10 were missing.

Some 350,000 people have been evacuated in the last 10 days and thousands are marooned, said Pratyay Amrit, a Bihar disaster official.

Army officers were putting up sandbags and wire mesh along roads in an attempt to repair embankments and prevent the river from inundating more areas, said a resident of the t district of Saharsa.

Floods have killed more than 1,000 people in South Asia since the monsoon season began in June, mainly in India's northern Uttar Pradesh state.

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