Flooding Rampant Worldwide -
Tens Of Millions Homeless
From CNN

Bangladesh: Dike holds, but for how long? India: Millions face hunger, disease China: Disease spreads as floods persist Sudan: Rising Nile leaves many homeless Mexico: Flooding leaves dozens dead
DHAKA, Bangladesh (CNN) -- Bangladeshi troops, police, civil engineers and volunteers joined forces on Thursday to try to save a vital embankment threatening to collapse under surging floodwaters in a heavily populated area.
About 600,000 people living near the capital of Dhaka were at risk, and emergency shelters to which they could flee were already overcrowded. Many were praying for divine help to avoid a calamity.
Floods throughout Bangladesh -- and in many other parts of the world in recent months -- have killed thousands of people and brought the threat of further tragedy to millions more through disease and food shortages.
Bangladesh: Dike holds, but for how long?
Dhaka's flood Forecasting and Warning Center said Thursday a 2.5-kilometer (1.5-mile) stretch of a longer earthen embankment that protects the city had been further weakened by the overflowing of the Buriganga and Sitalakhiya rivers.
The center said that both the rivers were likely to swell further under the impact of gushing waters from their upper reaches.
People threatened by the weakened embankment, which also links Dhaka to nearby towns, were warned Wednesday night to prepare for evacuation. But the United Nations noted this week that the emergency shelters were severely overcrowded.
"This overcrowding combined with shortages of food, safe drinking water and adequate safe sanitation facilities are the almost perfect breeding ground for major disease outbreak and public health crisis," the United Nations said in a statement appealing to the world to help Bangladesh.
Floodwaters have submerged much of the overcrowded nation. The deluge has claimed more than 850 lives and displaced more than a quarter of the country's 124 million people. More than half of Dhaka has been submerged for the past two months.
The flooding also has increased the spread of waterborne diseases and destroyed an estimated 2.3 million tons of rice.
<Picture: IndiaTwo girls rush to their home with fresh water in eastern India
India: Millions face hunger, disease
Millions of people in the eastern Indian state of Assam are at risk after the worst floods in 50 years, officials said Thursday.
More than 150 people have been killed in Assam, where floodwaters from the Brahmaputra river have submerged some 5,000 villages in the past nine weeks.
Domestic news agencies Thursday said more than 1,800 people had died in floods across northeastern India, with the highest toll of 1,281 deaths reported in the sprawling state of Uttar Pradesh, bordering Nepal.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Thursday undertook an aerial survey of flood-affected areas in Uttar Pradesh and later compared the devastation with a mythological deluge Hindus believe inundated the world.
In Assam, the agricultural and environmental effects of the flood have been devastating, officials said, pointing to the destruction of 900,000 hectares (2.2 million acres) of rice and other crops, and the inundation of the massive Kaziranga National Park, home to thousands of endangered animals.
More than 5 million people in Assam have been left homeless, and a health official warned of the growing incidence of diarrhea, resulting from the consumption of polluted water and rotten food.
China: Disease spreads as floods persist
Outbreaks of snail fever and other diseases have been reported in the vast flood zone along the Yangtze River, a Chinese Red Cross official said Thursday. Relief officials also said fever spread by rats is threatening flood victims huddled in overcrowded refugee camps.
More than 9,000 medical teams are dispensing water purification tablets and treatment for people who have had contact with polluted floodwaters and risk getting snail fever, or schistosomiasis, said Sun Baiqiu, vice president of the Red Cross Society of China.
Both diseases are caused by parasites and can cause liver, urinary, lung and nervous system disorders.
There have been 513 cases of snail fever reported in Jingzhou, a county in Hubei province, the official China Daily newspaper reported. Many snail fever control stations had been destroyed by the floods, and Jingzhou urgently required medicine and relief funds, it said.
In China's far northeast, colds and pneumonia have been reported, but the main threat is the bitter winter just ahead, Sun said.
The ground is expected to freeze before it dries out enough to allow rebuilding. In heavily flooded Heilongjiang province, winter temperatures drop to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 30 Celsius) -- far too cold to survive in the tents that have served as temporary shelters, she said.
The worst floods along the Yangtze River since 1954 have killed more than 3,000 people nationwide and left millions homeless this summer, according to government statistics.
Sudan: Rising Nile leaves many homeless
Floods and heavy rains have destroyed 119,000 houses and left more than 200,000 people homeless in nine Sudanese states, the government said.
The government has mobilized troops to fight the worst flooding along the Nile River in a half century and is considering evacuating thousands of people in districts near the capital of Khartoum.
The worst-hit regions in Sudan, Africa's largest country, are the Shamalia and el-Nil states north of Khartoum.
On Tuti Island, located in the Blue Nile, a few hundred yards (meters) from where the river meets the White Nile, more than 10,000 inhabitants have been battling the surging river for three days.
A 2.5-mile-long wall of sandbags has been erected to save thousands of homes.
Meanwhile, air drops and feeding centers operated by international agencies hoping to alleviate a famine in southern Sudan are relieving some suffering, but people are still dying at an alarming rate, the United Nations said Wednesday.
<Picture: MexicoThe Guatan River overflows in the city of Tapachula, in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas, Wednesday
Mexico: Flooding leaves dozens dead
Bracing for fresh rains, army troops and the Red Cross on Thursday worked feverishly to bring emergency supplies to tens of thousands of Mexicans stranded by deadly floodwaters in southern Mexico.
Muddy torrents have ripped walls from concrete houses, smashed highways into pieces and dragged major bridges into their depths.
Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo arrived late on Wednesday to southernmost Chiapas state to oversee relief efforts to the area, soaked by six consecutive days of rains that left an estimated 25,000 homeless in more than 50 towns and villages.
At least 33 people have drowned and, because dozens of towns are entirely cut off by the water, it is impossible to know for sure how many more may have been swept to their deaths.
Zedillo said dozens of people were missing, and predicted it would be days before rescuers could reach some towns.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.