PATNA,India:Food riots erupted Wednesday in eastern India,where more than two million people have been forced from their homes and about 250,000 houses destroyed in what officials said were the worst floods in 50;years.
One person was killed in Madhepura district when angry villagers fought over limited supplies of food and medicines at overcrowded relief;centers.
The floods have killed close toly 50 people in;Bihar.
The Kosi river in Bihar,one of the poorest states in India,smashed through mud embankments and changed course last week,inundating hundreds of villages and;towns.
Some experts attribute the floods to increased monsoon rains caused by global warming,while others say the authorities have failed to take enough preventive measures to improve;infrastructure.
Torrential rains have killed more than 1,000 people in South Asia since the monsoon began in June,mainly in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India but also in Nepal and;Bangladesh. Others ran for miles under helicopters that were dropping food packets.
Officials said flood victims had looted grains at some places in Bihar.
“We have enough stock of food grains but the problem is that we have limited means of transport to supply them among the villagers,” Rajesh Kumar Gupta,a government official in Madhepura,said by;telephone. One boy was killed and about 30 people were injured in Supaul district when food packets fell on;them.
“We are having difficulty in getting the exact number of prisoners who fled since communication networks have totally snapped,”said Nitish Kumar,Bihar's chief;minister.
Several prisoners took advantage of the floods and escaped from a jail in Supaul on Tuesday night,officials;said. Railway tracks have been submerged and essential commodities,including food,are being transported by;boat.
The United Nations children's fund,Unicef,said roads had been damaged and water and electricity supplies disrupted in the affected areas.
Local people call the Kosi the “Sorrow of Bihar”for its regular floods and ability to change course quickly.
Those displaced by the floods are not expected to be able to return home for two or three months,when the embankment is repaired and the river moves back to its normal;course.
Unicef said cases of diarrhea and fever were being reported in makeshift;camps. It originates in Nepal,where it broke a dam last;week.
Television images showed people using banana tree trunks and cots to stay afloat,some even with their cattle and;goats.
“The weather has been extremely hot,aggravating the suffering of the displaced population,particularly for children,pregnant and lactating women and the aged,”it;said. Millions were affected and officials fear climate change will make similar disasters more;often.
Last year,floods in eastern India and Bangladesh killed about 2,000 people.
Engineers began repairing the broken dam on the Kosi river in Nepal on Wednesday to prevent it from resulting in further;damage