Tuesday, September 02, 2008

'River of Sorrow' Floods Affecting Millions in India

By Rama Lakshmi
Washington Post Foreign Service

NEW DELHI, Sept. 2 -- Close to 2.5 million Indians remained stranded, homeless and hungry in flood-ravaged villages in the eastern part of the country Tuesday, 17 days after a river burst a dam in neighboring Nepal and changed course.
Heavy rains and the swelling waters of the Kosi, often called the "river of sorrow" and worshipped by local people, caused havoc in almost 1,000 villages in Bihar state. Panic-stricken people fled to higher ground, tree tops and cramped makeshift camps.
About 117 people are reported dead but officials in Bihar said that the death toll may rise dramatically as receding waters reveal more bodies.
Monsoon floods are an annual feature of Indian life, but some officials say that the damage has been catastrophic this year.
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