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August 19, 2000
Fresh rains flood new areas in northeast: AFP
Heavy overnight rains in the flood-ravaged northeastern Indian state of Assam have submerged fresh areas, as the Brahmaputra river swells once again, officials said Saturday.
"The Brahmaputra and its tributaries have been showing a rising trend since midnight, with 77.4 millimeters of rain during the past twelve hours," a statement from the flood control room said early Saturday.
The regional meteorological centre in its morning bulletin predicted "one or two spells of rain or thundershowers" in the next 24 hours.
"People were just beginning to come to terms after floods left a trail of destruction, when the river is once again in a furious mood with a tendency to overflow the embankments", Naraian Kalita, a government engineer, told AFP from Nalbari, 150 kilometers west of Guwahati.
In Guwahati, the state capital, normal life was paralysed as heavy overnight rains flooded the streets and several low-lying quarters near the Brahmaputra river.
"We are marooned with at least four feet (1.2 metres) of water inside our house. We are sitting on top of a dining table," Sunaina Chaliha, a housewife in Guwahati told AFP over the telephone.
More than 100 people have died and an estimated 4.5 million people left homeless in Assam by the floods which began a fortnight ago.
Water-borne diseases have killed at least 20 people, fuelling fears of epidemics.
Altogether 230 people have been killed in the last month by floods in India and neighbouring Bhutan and Bangladesh.
The flood waters had receded in recent days, although meteorologists have warned of further heavy rains to come.
A team from the International Federation of the Red Cross is currently touring parts of Assam to assess the damage.
The Red Cross has appealed for international aid to provide flood victims with rice and cooking oil, as well as water purification tablets, mosquito nets, clothing, blankets and tarpaulins.
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