NEW DELHI (AP) – A flood-swollen river was overflowing a major Indian dam, threatening villages as 41 more deaths were reported across South Asia, taking the death toll to 1,972 in a season of rain destruction.

Twenty-nine people died during the past 24 hours in the badly affected Bharuch district in India’s western Gujarat state, officials at the local police control room said.

The Narmada River dam, one of the largest such projects in India, was overflowing by more than 13 feet, S.K.Mahapatra, the dam’s administrator. He said the amount of water flowing was more than 25 times the levels of a week ago at the 360-feet high dam.

“Because of continuing rain in the last 72 hours, it has started overflowing dangerously. We are monitoring the situation with the help of satellite images,” Mahapatra told The Associated Press.

Thirty villages have been put on alert for emergency evacuation, he said.

The flooding in Gujarat has affected some 300,000 farmers and their crops of groundnut, cotton and sunflower, said Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the state’s top elected official.

In Bangladesh, the official flood death toll stood at 691 in Bangladesh after eight more deaths were reported Saturday, the Disaster Management Ministry said. The floodwaters have receded from most parts, said officials at the government’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Center.

Four people were electrocuted in the Arada village in India’s eastern coastal state of Orissa in heavy rains, said police official R. Parida. Utility wires fell on the men when they were inspecting their crops in the area, about 310 miles west of Bhubaneswar, the state capital.

Indian officials also said that a lake formed by landslides in China’s Tibet region is threatening to burst its banks and inundate hundreds of villages in Indian territory. The lake, rising by the hour, is 3.5 miles long and nearly a mile wide, said L.R. Jhamtha, a government official in India’s Himachal Pradesh state bordering China.

Jhamtha said villagers in Himachal Pradesh were being evacuated.

The lake last overflowed in August 2000, killing more than 100 people and washing away dozens of bridges and roads in Himachal Pradesh.

At least 1,152 people have died in India, 691 in Bangladesh, 124 in Nepal and five in Pakistan from the monsoon since June, mostly from drowning, mudslides and waterborne diseases. Last year’s monsoon season ended in October after killing 1,500 people in the region.

AP-ES-08-07-04 1343EDT



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