India floods: PM Singh visits Assam

1m people have been forced from their homes because of the flooding

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India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is visiting the north-eastern state of Assam, where flooding has forced nearly a million people to leave their homes.

Seventy-seven people have died in flood-related incidents, including landslides and drowning. At least six people are reported to be missing.

More then 2,000 villages in 27 districts of the state have been inundated by flood waters, reports say.

A state minister has said it is the worst flooding in the state since 1998.

The main Brahmaputra river and its 14 tributaries have breached more than 40 embankments in the state, reports say.

Mr Singh and the ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi surveyed from the air some of the worst affected areas - Majuli island and the districts of Jorhat, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji.

They are expected to meet state officials to assess the damage and take stock of the relief and rescue operation.

Mr Singh has also asked Defence Minister AK Antony to ensure the "full assistance of the army" in the rescue operations.

Assam's disaster management authority said thousands of homes had been destroyed and more than 480,000 people had sought shelter in government-run relief camps.

Reports say the water level is receding in some areas, but 23 of the state's 27 districts are still inundated by floodwaters.

Despite reports that the south-west monsoon has been less than satisfactory so far, heavy rains have been battering Assam for the past fortnight.

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