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Floods leave 1.5 million homeless in eastern India
Cat : Environment
Date : 2006-09-04 17:30:05                      Reader : 312
US should accept Kyoto protocol of UN against Earth warming, as US is the major country of pollution. Even US itself is suffering from climate change recently Katrina and Rita.
Reuters 4/9/2006
Floods leave 1.5 million homeless in eastern India
 By Sanjaya Jena
BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) - Flooding triggered by monsoon rains in the past few days have left 1.5 million people homeless and damaged thousands of acres of paddy crop in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, officials said on Sunday.
Over 20,000 people were evacuated after hundreds of villages were cut off. Army troops were evacuating more villagers from coastal districts with the authorities braced for more rain.
"We are bothered about the fresh formation of a low pressure over the Bay of Bengal and are closely monitoring its movement," Subash Pani, the state's seniormost bureaucrat, told Reuters.
The flood victims, with their houses submerged, were living in makeshift tents and surviving on dry food air-dropped by relief workers, witnesses said.
Hundreds of people are killed every year in South Asia during the June-September monsoon season and millions displaced from their homes or marooned in their villages.
Monsoon rains have caused widespread damage this year.
Hundreds of people have been killed in western and southern India and millions left homeless due to flooding. At least 140 people have been killed and thousands left homeless in the western desert state of Rajasthan in the past two weeks.
In Nepal, at least 50 people died last week in flash floods. Thousands of people have been evacuated to dry areas while officials are braced for any outbreak of diseases.
Landslides and flash floods have also affected thousands of people in Pakistan.
In Orissa, continuous rains and flash floods in the past three months have already killed 70 people and crippled road and electricity networks, officials said.
In restive Indian        Kashmir, authorities declared a flood alert on Sunday after the Himalayan region's main rivers flowed above the danger mark, flooding villages and damaging crops.
Landslides triggered by incessant rains blocked a vital 300-km (186 mile) national highway linking Srinagar, the region's summer capital, with the rest of the country, officials said.
(Additional reporting by Sheikh Mushtaq in SRINAGAR)
NEPAL: Urgent humanitarian aid needed for flood victims
KATHMANDU, 30 Aug 2006 (IRIN) - Thousands of people have been evacuated and temporarily resettled, but “a worrying unknown number of persons” are still thought to be trapped and waiting for help following recent flooding and landslides in western Nepal, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

More than 50 people have been killed and thousands of people displaced in the area since Saturday, the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) says.

The group, which has been helping victims, said it was concerned there was not enough aid getting to those in need.

“The government and aid agencies are putting their best efforts to help the victims, but there is a need for more humanitarian assistance to provide food, medicines and shelter,” Rajendra Karki, from NRCS, said from the capital, Kathmandu, on Wednesday.

OCHA said of the 13 districts affected Banke, Bardiya, Nawalparasi and Accham had been worst hit, adding heavy monsoon rains continued to hamper rescue efforts.

Pancharam Chaudhary, from Backward Society Education (BASE), an NGO in Nepalganj, a key city in western Nepal 500 km from Kathmandu, said humanitarian and rescue efforts needed to be stepped up.

“The situation is becoming quite dangerous and risking the lives of more people who survived the landslides and floods,” Chaudhary said.

BASE said there was an urgent need for more food and medicines. It warned that there was a risk of plague if additional medical help was not provided.

“There is no source of food for these villagers as the farms and food grains have all been destroyed. I met several people who had already had eye sores and are suffering from other diseases due to the unhygienic conditions and poor sanitation caused by the flood,” Chaudhary said.

He said nearly 10,000 had been left homeless after 95 percent of the houses were destroyed in the Fatehpur, Kamdi and Holiya village development committees of Banke District, 500 km west of Kathmandu.

In Achham District, 700 km northwest of Kathmandu, a massive landslide killed at least eight people on Saturday, with 100 still missing, NRCS said. Eighty houses had been swept away, leaving more than 100 families homeless.

NRCS said a further three people had been killed and more than 100 families displaced in Nawalparasi District, 300 km from the capital.

More than 20 NGOs in Nepalganj were to hold a meeting to demand more help from the government and aid agencies to prevent further deaths.

UN agencies and aid organisations including Care, Oxfam, Save the Children (US), Action Aid and Caritas had expressed their readiness to provide aid, OCHA said.

The government’s Epidemiology and Disease Control Division had asked its health officers to report immediately on any potential health crisis.

United Nations Children’s Fund said that it had sent two trucks with water purification materials, household utensils, blankets and tarpaulins to Nepalganj.

The government’s Ministry of Home Affairs said it had sent the army to help rescue people caught in landslides and had also made food and medical provisions.

However, Chaudhary said the major challenge was reaching the remote areas where flooding had destroyed roads.

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