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Eight more dead as India’s Assam state reels under floods

It takes the death toll from weeks of heavy rain that caused the Brahmaputra River to overflow to 62.

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Indian army personnel rescue flood-affected villagers on a boat in Jalimura village, west of Gauhati (Anupam Nath/AP)

Indian army personnel rescue flood-affected villagers on a boat in Jalimura village, west of Gauhati (Anupam Nath/AP)

Indian army personnel rescue flood-affected villagers on a boat in Jalimura village, west of Gauhati (Anupam Nath/AP)

Massive flooding and mudslides in north-eastern India’s Assam state have claimed eight more lives, officials said on Sunday.

It takes the death toll from weeks of heavy rain that caused one of Asia’s largest rivers to overflow to 62.

Assam’s disaster management agency said 32 of the state’s 35 districts were underwater as the swollen Brahmaputra River broke its banks, displacing more than three million people.

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Indian army personnel rescue flood-affected villagers on a boat in Jalimura village, west of Gauhati (Anupam Nath/AP)

Indian army personnel rescue flood-affected villagers on a boat in Jalimura village, west of Gauhati (Anupam Nath/AP)

AP/PA Images

Indian army personnel rescue flood-affected villagers on a boat in Jalimura village, west of Gauhati (Anupam Nath/AP)

The Indian army was called in for rescue efforts and the air force remained on stand-by.

The Brahmaputra flows from Tibet through India and into Bangladesh on a nearly 500-mile (800km) journey through Assam.

On Sunday, four people went missing when a boat carrying nine capsized in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district, 310 miles (500km) east of Gauhati, the state capital.

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Police said search operations were continuing but they were hampered by strong currents.

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An Indian soldier carries an elderly villager in Jalimura village (Anupam Nath/AP)

An Indian soldier carries an elderly villager in Jalimura village (Anupam Nath/AP)

AP/PA Images

An Indian soldier carries an elderly villager in Jalimura village (Anupam Nath/AP)

Forecasters are expecting a respite from the rain after incessant downpours.

On Saturday, Assam’s Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, toured flood-hit areas and described the situation as grim.

“We are now focusing on relief and rescue operations,” he said, adding that more than 20,000 people have been evacuated by the army and other rescue agencies.

Annual monsoon rains hit the region in June-September. They are crucial for crops planted during the season but often cause extensive damage.

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People wade through flooded waters in Sylhet, Bangladesh (Abdul Goni/AP)

People wade through flooded waters in Sylhet, Bangladesh (Abdul Goni/AP)

AP/PA Images

People wade through flooded waters in Sylhet, Bangladesh (Abdul Goni/AP)

Flooding from swollen rivers has also spilled over to neighbouring Bangladesh, where the government said the situation is likely to deteriorate in the worst-hit Sunamganj and Sylhet districts in the north-east as well as in the north.

Lightning strikes in parts of Bangladesh have left at least nine dead since Friday.


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