India floods: Thousands flee homes in Assam

Assam floods/2013
Image caption The floods have affected hundreds of villages across Assam

Nearly 250,000 people have been forced to leave their homes because of flooding in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam, officials say.

Some 400 villages in 11 out of 27 districts have been hit by floods.

Heavy monsoon rain in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh state has caused major rivers in Assam, including the Brahmaputra, to burst their banks.

Last month, floods in Uttarakhand, also caused by monsoon rain, left more than 800 people dead and thousands missing.

Officials from the Assam State Disaster Management Authority said the Jiadhol river had risen most in the wake of torrential rain since Sunday, flooding Dhemaji district on Assam's border with Arunachal Pradesh.

More than 35 villages in Dhemaji have been completely submerged, forcing tens of thousands of people to move to higher ground.

Many roads and bridges have been washed away, affecting road links between the district and the rest of the state.

Floods have also damaged six roads and a bridge in Golaghat district and breached river embankments in Karimganj district.

The region's main Brahmaputra river was flowing above the danger level in Jorhat district, reports said.

Many animals at Kaziranga national park, home to nearly two-thirds of the world's remaining one-horned rhinos, have fled to higher ground as flood waters have entered the area.

Floods hit Assam almost every year, displacing tens of thousands of people and damaging crops and property.

Last year, more than 100 people died and over five million were displaced in the seasonal flooding.

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