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UN To Study Bangladesh Flood Damage

August 30, 1998

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ A United Nations disaster assessment team will travel to Bangladesh Monday to study the damage caused by devastating floods that have killed 627 people and marooned millions, a domestic news agency reported Sunday.

The official BSS news agency reported that the two-week U.N. mission would assess the flood situation in 44 of the country’s 64 districts submerged by raging rivers as part of efforts to muster international aid for the flood victims.

Nearly 30 million people across the country have been either marooned, taken to relief centers or displaced from their homes, The New Nation newspaper quoted officials as saying.

The government has sought foreign aid of $680 million for emergency relief and an extensive rehabilitation program.

``The immediate response to our appeal is positive and encouraging,″ Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Sunday in an address to the nation telecast on state-owned television and radio. ``Friendly nations and agencies have already committed 665,000 metric tons of food grain in aid of the flood affected people.″

Hasina said the United States had made a commitment of 200,000 tons of wheat. The European Union and Australia are rushing 81,000 tons and 86,000 tons of wheat respectively, she said.

The flood situation deteriorated further Sunday in six districts of the country including the capital, Dhaka, where more than 5 million of the 9 million residents have been hit by the flood.

The health ministry reported 12 fresh deaths late on Saturday.

A doctor at Dhaka’s largest diarrhea hospital in Dhaka said an average of 1,000 patients were being brought for treatment each day. Nearly 150,000 cases of diarrheal diseases have been brought to government health centers for treatment since July 15 when the flooding started, officials said.

The Flood Forecasting and Warning Center said the flooding may continue for another two weeks and end in mid-September.