Mon, September 01, 2008
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Floods devastate India's eastern Bihar

2008-09-01 09:02:35 GMT2008-09-01 17:02:35 (Beijing Time) Reuters

For both Muslims and Hindus in Bihar, long running religious divides are put on hold as both sides just try to survive.

SOUNDBITE :Hindu flood victim, Sarjung Das, saying (Hindi) :

"My house was flooded, it was difficult to even get out alive from such flooding. We reached this Madrasa and the Muslims out here are helping us, giving us food to eat."

In Saharsa, the head of a local government-run Madrasa has set up at the grounds of the religious institution to help flood victims who have lost their homes. Everyone is welcome, regardless of religion.

SOUNDBITE: Head of the madrasa (Muslim educational institute), Maulana Mohammad Ishook, saying (Hindi):

"Both Hindu and Muslims, around 1500 of them are here for the past week. We have been running this service and we provide food and shelter to all those who come here. We do not discriminate, everybody eats together."

The latest flooding occurred after the Kosi river burst a dam in neighbouring Nepal earlier this month and changed its course, swamping hundreds of villages in Bihar and destroying more than 247,000 acres of farmlands.

Authorities have struggled to provide aid as they needed more boats and rescuers to help hundreds of thousands of people still marooned in remote villages. In Bihar, the toll rose to 90 on Sunday with five more people drowning overnight in separate districts.

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