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India floods destroy millions of homes, properties 

Unprecedented rainfall and flooding has left behind a trail of destruction in Assam, submerging villages, destroying crops, and wrecking homes.

Authorities say that 32 of its 35 districts have been affected, killing at least 45 people and displacing more than 4.7 million over the last week.

Heavy rains have also lashed neighbouring Meghalaya state, where 18 people have died over the last week. In Assam, the government has opened 1,425 relief camps for the displaced, but authorities say their job has been complicated by the sheer intensity of the disaster. Even the rescue camps are in a dismal state.

Floods routinely wreak havoc on the lives and livelihoods of millions living near the fertile riverbanks of the mighty Brahmaputra river, often called the lifeline of Assam. But experts say that factors like climate change, unchecked construction activities and rapid industrialisation have increased the frequency of extreme weather events.

This is the second time this year that Assam is grappling with such floods at least 39 people were killed in May.

The state has already recorded rainfall 109% above average levels this month, according to the weather department. And the Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger mark at many places.

Entire settlements have been engulfed by rushing waters, almost resembling a huge river that had formed overnight.

In Guwahati, the main economic centre of Assam, neighbourhoods have been reduced to rubble. Lush fields where rice and paddy normally grew have turned into vast swamps of mud and debris.

Back in Udiana, there are no schools, hospitals, temples or mosques in sight – just water. People travel by boats made of banana leaves and bamboo sticks. Others just swim through the brown, green brackish waters despondently, their eyes lighting up at the sight of rescuers, whose bright orange uniforms are visible from a distance.

The damage is particularly alarming in Kamrup Rural district, where hundreds of people are still reportedly trapped in their houses.

Editing by Omotola Oguneye