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Assam Villages Washed Away Without a Trace

Photo: People wade through a flooded road after heavy rains in the eastern Indian state of Bihar July 25, 2007. Floods have inundated large stretches of the country since the start of this year's monsoon season, killing about 750 people and displacing more than eight million.

July 25, 2007
Elderly Tulan Dutta stared blankly from a raised mud embankment with the swirling grey floodwaters washing away a cluster of huts in his village in front of his eyes.

Dutta and his family of 12, including three grandchildren, are among an estimated 5,000 people in Assam's Dhemaji district whose lives will never be the same again. Dhemaji is about 500 km east of Guwahati, the principal city in the northeast Indian state of Assam.

'God's curse has fallen on us. The floodwaters washed away everything without a trace,' Dutta told IANS as tears welled in his eyes.

The flash floods a fortnight ago caught everyone by surprise with the river Kumatia, a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra, suddenly changing its course.

'The Kumatia is now flowing through some 15 villages comprising about 1,000 families. Its course has changed and it seems these people have very little chance to get back to their homes in the future,' Dhemaji District Magistrate D.N. Mishra said with a voice filled with emotions.

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