DHAKA, Aug. 1, Reuter: Monsoon floods in Bangladesh have killed 78 people and cut off nearly two million from the rest of the country during the past two weeks, relief officials said today.

Fresh floods engulfed a vast area in the eastern districts of Sylhet and Comilla after the Surma and Gumti rivers burst their banks, district officials told Reuters.

The water swept away a bridge on the main highway from Dhaka to Chittagong, severing links between the Bangladesh capital and the country’s southern port, they said.

Authorities opened a flood emergency center to coordinate relief measures to help two million people hit by floods, which started after heavy monsoon rains.

Relief officials said 175,000 hectares (437,000 acres) of rice fields are under water.

President Hossain Mohammad Ershad, who visited floodlit areas in the north by helicopter, ordered opening of soup kitchens and more medical supplies to prevent starvation and disease, the officials said.

Residents in the town of Gaibandha said contaminated food and lack of drinking water have already caused epidemics of diarthoea and dysentery.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 7, 1987