Disease outbreak feared in India flood

Sept. 7, 2008 at 12:06 PM
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GUWAHATI, India, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Indian officials warn there could be an outbreak of epidemics among the 2.1 million refugees displaced by deadly flooding in the northeastern state of Assam.

Twenty-four people have been confirmed dead in flooding along the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries with a dire situation facing the survivors, the Times of India reported Sunday.

Officials said the river was still at dangerous levels in at least 10 places, breaching embankments and sweeping away roads and bridges. Thousands of people were living in makeshift shelters with the threat of waterborne diseases rapidly getting worse, they said.

"People in large numbers have complained of diarrhea, stomach ache and fever," Ramani Das, a doctor working in one of the hardest-hit regions, told the Times. "This is mainly because of unhygienic food and water consumed in makeshift shelters."

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