Food riots, anger as floods swamp South Asia

LUCKNOW, India Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:35pm IST

People use rickshaws to cross flooded areas after heavy rain in Guwahati, August 19, 2008. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah/Files

People use rickshaws to cross flooded areas after heavy rain in Guwahati, August 19, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Utpal Baruah/Files

Related Topics

LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) - Flood victims demanding food and shelter beat up government officials in India on Friday as monsoon rains spread misery among millions of people across South Asia and forced thousands from their homes.

Rising rivers have crumpled embankments, swamped farmlands and destroyed homes, killing almost 1,000 people since the monsoon rains began in June.

In India's eastern Bihar state, hungry villagers rioted for food, chasing and beating up officials and local politicians with iron rods. They damaged government vehicles.

"We do not understand their anger because the government is rushing relief and doing everything to save them," said R.K. Singh, a senior government official in Patna, the state capital.

Most deaths have been reported in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, home to 170 million people.

Indian officials on Friday reported 50 more deaths, raising the toll there to 710 this season.

Monsoon rains have killed at least another 130 people in other parts of India this year, while Nepal has reported some 65 deaths and Bangladesh another 30 so far.

The monsoon is key to irrigating farmland in South Asia and driving economic growth in a region heavily reliant on agriculture. But it leaves massive destruction in its wake, killing hundreds of people every year.

RESCUE BY BOAT

Officials in Uttar Pradesh have moved more than 10,000 people into temporary shelters after their houses were destroyed in floods.

Rescue workers used boats to ferry food packets, medicines and clothes to those marooned, Balwinder Kumar, a senior government official said on Friday. More than 7,000 flood victims were being treated for water-borne diseases.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, more than 300,000 people have fled their homes and thousands have been marooned as heavy rains over the past week triggered fresh floods in southeastern Cox's Bazar district, officials said.

Several overflowing rivers in Cox's Bazar and nearby hill districts have flooded roads and damaged crops.

In Nepal, 40,000 flood victims were housed in relief camps.

"We have collected enough food grains to feed them for two weeks but need tents, medical kits and other relief materials urgently," said government official Suman Ghimire.

(Additional reporting by Ruma Paul in Dhaka and Gopal Sharma in

Kathmandu)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

DEFENCE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Obama Chief Guest

Obama Chief Guest

Obama to be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations.  Full Article 

Interview with Bulgari CEO

Interview: Bulgari CEO

Bulgari CEO: we shouldn’t have left India so we’re back  Full Article 

Islamic State

Islamic State

U.S. plans to arm Iraq's Sunni tribesmen with AK-47s, RPGs, mortars.  Full Article 

Economic Reforms

Economic Reforms

Long "to do" list for Modi as clock ticks on reform.  Full Article 

Available For Remake

Available For Remake

Bollywood finally wants to pay the price for remakes  Full Article 

Messi Magic

Messi Magic

Messi sets La Liga record of 253 goals.  Full Article 

E-books Case

E-books Case

Apple $450 mln e-book settlement gets final court approval  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Happy Ending" is old wine in an older bottle  Full Article 

Google Break-up

Google Break-up

European Parliament may propose Google break-up in draft resolution.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage