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Asian Monsoon Floods Kill 17 More

August 20, 2002

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DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ The swollen Jamuna River broke through its mud embankments Tuesday, flooding a dozen villages and cutting off thousands of residents, officials said.

Monsoon rains have killed nearly 950 people and displaced more than 23 million across South Asia over the past two months.

The Bangladesh flooding came in the Sirajganj district, about 65 miles northwest of the capital, Dhaka. Several thousand people were cut off in the newly flooded villages, rescuers said, speaking on condition of anonymity. But no casualties were immediately reported.

The annual rains have killed at least 157 people and flooded nearly one-third of Bangladesh in the worst flooding in four years. Nearly 7 million people have been stranded or forced to leave their homes in the delta nation.

In the eastern Indian state of Bihar, 17 more people were killed by the floods. A.C. Pandey, a top state relief and rehabilitation official, said Tuesday that the deaths _ from drownings, house collapses and snakebites _ were reported on Sunday and Monday. Snakebites are common during monsoon floods, as poisonous vipers are carried through the waters.

The deaths raised the statewide toll to 317. Nearly 16 million people have been displaced by flooding in Bihar, where 338,000 houses have collapsed, officials said.

The ferocity of the rain has ebbed in Bihar, with the water level of its six major rivers, except for the Kosi, receding, Pandey said.

Another 39 people have died in India’s northeastern state of Assam.

The death toll from landslides and flooding in Nepal stood at 429 Tuesday. However, the situation was improving, with less rain falling in parts of the Himalayan nation.

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