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Assam floods affect over a million

G Vinayak in Guwahati | July 07, 2003 22:50 IST

The rising waters of the mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries have affected over one million people across 19 of Assam's 24 districts.

The waters have brought with them a flood of problems, not least among them malaria, which has claimed 71 lives since April this year, The Assam Tribune, the state's leading daily, said on Sunday.

According to the Directorate of Health Services, Nagaon and Sonitpur districts have reported 24 deaths each.

The health department collected 6,50,381 blood samples and nearly 20,000 of them tested positive for malaria, The Assam Tribune said.

The Joint Director Health Service (Malaria), Dr P C Bhattacharya, said the department has adequate medicines to deal with the situation and village-level drug distribution centres have been opened in high-risk areas.

He, however, admitted that shortage of staff is a problem, as about 440 posts of surveillance workers are lying vacant.

Nine people have drowned and nearly 35,000 hectares of standing crops have been washed away, official sources in Dispur, the state's administrative capital, said on Sunday.

Several relief camps have been opened in various districts.

In the worst affected Dhemaji district, over 60,000 people have been rendered homeless. In Majuli, the world's largest river island, severe erosion by the rampaging Brahmaputra has forced several thousand people to take shelter on high ground.

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