CAFOD rushes aid to India's flood survivors

 The charity's partner agency Caritas India, is at the forefront of handing out emergency relief supplies to 45,000 families - about 270,000 men, women and children, who have been left with nothing.

CAFOD's programme manager for India, Mary Lucas, said: "The immediate need is rescue and evacuation as villages are being cut off. There is also a need for food, medical assistance and shelter. People are stranded on the roadside. Transport and communication is impossible in many areas. The situation is grim and seems to be getting out of control.

"The river is growing and changing direction every day, threatening to swallow new swathes of land. The situation is deteriorating and the threat of disease looming. Our partners are working through local volunteers and organisations in three affected districts to ensure rescued people are cared for. With so much land lost, not only is the current situation terrifying and life-threatening, the future also looks very bleak."

The flooding began 18 August when the Kosi River burst a dam in neighbouring Nepal, altering the river's course 120km eastwards and affecting towns and villages that had not seen floods for decades. The area is largely rural and people rely on the land. Surging waters have swamped 100,000 hectares of farmland, destroying wheat and paddy crops and drinking water has become scarce.

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