At least 16 dead as more than a million hit by Bangladesh floods

August 1, 2007 - 0:0

DHAKA (AFP) -- At least 16 people have died in the past week and more than a million were marooned or homeless as floods from monsoon rains and snowmelt inundated north and central Bangladesh, an official said Tuesday.

Most of the affected people took shelter at hundreds of relief centers or sought higher ground as rivers burst their banks and flooded 20 of the country's 64 districts, disaster management secretary Dhiraj Malakar said.
""The flood water has begun to recede in some northern areas. But still two major rivers, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, were flowing above danger levels and have inundated some new districts in the central region,"" he said.
Malakar said thousands of military, government and volunteer groups were mobilized to evacuate people and distribute food, relief and medical aid to those affected by the disaster.
The deaths were caused by snakebites or drowning, he said, adding civil and military medical teams have been sent to the worst affected areas to combat the threat of water-borne diseases.
Last month, landslides triggered by heavy rains killed at least 126 people in the southeastern city of Chittagong on the Bay of Bengal.
Newspapers and television channels said tens of thousands of people living in the northern Kurigram district had not received food or water for days.
Bangladesh is crisscrossed by a network of 230 rivers and suffers annual floods with at least a fifth of the country submerged each year.
In July and August 2004, floods killed more than 700 people and 38 percent of the country was under water, forcing millions to flee their homes