Monsoon floods kill 81 in India, force 2M to flee

Associated Press Modified: July 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm •  Published: July 2, 2012
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GAUHATI, India (AP) — The worst monsoon floods in a decade to hit a remote northeastern Indian state have killed more than 80 people and forced around 2 million to leave their homes.

Nearly half a million people are living in relief camps that have been set up across Assam state, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told journalists Monday in Gauhati, Assam's capital. The rest of the 2 million displaced are living with relatives or sheltering under tarpaulin sheets.

Assam officials say 81 people have been killed over the past four days. Most were swept away when the mighty Brahmaputra River overflowed and flooded villages. Sixteen people were buried in landslides triggered by the rains.

At least 11 people were missing in six districts, the state disaster management agency said.

Air force helicopters were dropping food packets and drinking water to marooned people, Singh said after surveying the flood-hit districts.

Army soldiers used boats to rescue villagers from rooftops of flooded homes.

Teams of doctors have opened health clinics in the 770 relief camps that had been set up across Assam, one of India's main tea-growing states. The hilly tea growing areas have not been affected, but lower rice fields have been washed away.

Thousands of cattle have perished after being swept away by the raging water or getting stuck in the mud. The stench of rotting animal carcasses was adding to the woes of the people in tents at the relief camps, officials said.

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