Millions left homeless by Indian floods

The flooded Brahmaputra River has cut a vicious swath through India's remote northeast, killing hundreds of people, levelling homes and leaving millions homeless.

The flooded Brahmaputra River has cut a vicious swath through India's remote northeast, killing hundreds of people, levelling homes and leaving millions homeless.

Arun Kalita's village, Sootea in Assam state, was swept away and he now lives with his wife and four children in a tarpaulin-roofed shelter, surviving on government food handouts.

Kalita is one of the lucky ones - he and his family survived. But he is haunted by the memory of the home he lost.

"We just kept watching from a distance and could do nothing," said Kalita, 57, his voice choked with emotion. "My home now lies on the river bed."

Annual monsoon flooding has wreaked havoc across South Asia, killing more than 900 people in India, Bangladesh and Nepal and displacing or trapping about 25 million more.

Some of the most isolated victims are in Assam, along the rugged foothills of the Himalayas.

At least 39 people have died and nearly a quarter of the state's 26 million residents are now homeless.

After two weeks of destruction, the rains have slowed and the floodwaters have started receding in much of Assam. But the weather is unpredictable and officials worry that intense rains could begin again, raising the water level and bringing more flooding.

Monsoon floods have killed at least 323 people in India, according to official estimates. Another 157 people have died in neighbouring Bangladesh, where the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Jamuna rivers began rising again this week, officials said.

But the highest death toll has been in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, where at least 424 people have either been swept away by swirling floodwaters or crushed under mudslides in remote mountain villages.

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