GUWAHATI, India ( Associated Press) – Heavy floods and landslides have claimed eight more lives in northeastern India’s Assam state, officials said on Sunday, taking the death toll from weeks of heavy rains to 62, taking Asia’s highest death toll. One of the biggest rivers has flooded.
Assam’s disaster management agency said 32 out of 35 districts in the state are under water as the raging Brahmaputra river has breached its bank, displacing more than three million people. The Indian Army was called in for rescue efforts and the Air Force remained on standby.
The Brahmaputra flows from Tibet in China through Assam in India and Bangladesh on a journey of about 800 kilometers (497 mi).
Read more: 18 killed in floods in India, Bangladesh, millions without homes
On Sunday, four people went missing after a boat carrying nine people capsized in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district, 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of state capital Guwahati. Police said the search operation was on but they were troubled due to the strong currents.
After incessant rains, meteorologists have expressed hope of relief from rain.
On Saturday, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the flood-affected areas and described the situation as serious.
“We are now concentrating on relief and rescue operations,” Sarma said. He said more than 20,000 people have been evacuated by the army and other rescue agencies.
The region receives annual monsoon rains in June-September. Rain is important for crops sown during the season but it often causes widespread damage.
Floods from overflowing rivers have also spread to neighboring Bangladesh, where the government said the situation was likely to worsen in the worst-affected Sunamganj and Sylhet districts in the Northeast as well as in the north.
Lightning struck parts of Bangladesh, killing at least nine people since Friday.