GUWAHATI, India, As India's northeastern state of Assam grapples with heavy floods brought on by pre-monsoon rains, over 500,000 people have been forced to leave their homes.
"More than 500,000 people have been affected, with the flood situation turning critical by the hour," Assam's water resources minister, Pijush Hazarika, told Reuters, adding that seven people have drowned in separate incidents during the last three days.
The Brahmaputra River, which flows into India and neighbouring Bangladesh from Tibet, burst its banks in Assam over the last three days, inundating more than 1,500 villages. Torrential rains, too, hit most of the state, with more rain forecast over the next two days.
Indian army soldiers retrieved more than 2,000 people trapped in the district of Hojai during a rescue effort that continues, the state's health minister, Keshab Mahanta, said.
"The situation remains extremely grave in the worst-hit Dima Hasao district, with both rail and road links snapped due to flooding and landslides," said Assam's revenue minister, Jogen Mohan, who is overseeing relief efforts there, as quoted by Reuters.