The worst monsoon floods in a decade to hit a remote northeastern Indian state have killed more than 80 people and forced around 2 million to leave their homes, officials say. Nearly half a million people are living in relief camps that have been set up across Assam state, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said. The rest of the 2 million displaced are living in government buildings or in the open. Assam officials say 81 people have been killed over the past four days, most swept away when the mighty Brahmaputra River overflowed its banks and flooded villages. Sixteen people were buried in a landslide triggered by the rains.
Air force helicopters were dropping food packets and drinking water to marooned people, Singh said after surveying the flood-hit districts. Army soldiers used boats to rescue villagers from rooftops of flooded homes. Teams of doctors have opened health clinics in the 770 relief camps that had been set up across Assam, one of India's main tea-growing states. In the worst-hit Dhemaji district, raging waters of the Brahmaputra River swept away entire villages. The national government will give immediate assistance of $90 million to the state, the PM said. The situation is expected to improve over the next few days.