- Monsoon storms in Bangladesh and India have killed at least 41 people and unleashed devastating floods that have stranded millions.
- Schools have become relief shelters to house entire villages flooded in a matter of hours by rivers that suddenly burst their banks.
- A woman rescued from the rising waters said her family had not been able to eat for two days.
Monsoon storms in Bangladesh and India have killed at least 41 people and unleashed devastating floods that have stranded millions of people, authorities said on Saturday.
Floods are a regular threat to millions of people in low-lying areas of Bangladesh, but experts say climate change is increasing their frequency, ferocity and unpredictability.
Relentless downpours over the past week have inundated vast swathes of northeastern Bangladesh, with troops deployed to evacuate isolated homes in neighboring communities.
Schools have become relief shelters to house entire villages flooded in a matter of hours by rivers that suddenly burst their banks.
“The whole village was under water early Friday and we were all stranded,” said Lokman, whose family lives in the village of Companiganj.
The 23-year-old added:
After waiting a whole day on the roof of our house, a neighbor rescued us with a makeshift boat. My mother said that she had never seen such flooding in her entire life.
Asma Akter, another woman rescued from the rising waters, said her family had not been able to eat for two days.
The water rose so fast that we couldn’t bring any of our things. And how can you cook something when everything is under water?
Lightning triggered by the storms has killed at least 21 people in the South Asian nation since Friday afternoon, police officials told AFP.
Among them were three boys between the ages of 12 and 14 who were struck by lightning on Friday in the rural town of Nandail, local police chief Mizanur Rahman said.
Four other people were killed when landslides hit their homes on the slopes of the port city of Chittagong, police inspector Nurul Islam told AFP.
At least 16 people have died since Thursday in India’s remote Meghalaya, the state’s Chief Minister Conrad Sangma wrote on Twitter, after landslides and rivers flooded roads.
Next door, in the state of Assam, more than 1.8 million people have been affected by flooding after five days of incessant downpours.
Assam Prime Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters he had instructed district officials to provide “all necessary help and relief” to people caught in the floods.
Flooding in Bangladesh worsened on Saturday morning after a temporary respite from rains the previous afternoon, Sylhet region chief government administrator Mosharraf Hossain told AFP.
“The situation is bad. More than four million people have been stranded by the floods,” Hossain said, adding that almost the entire region was without power.
Flooding forced Bangladesh’s third-largest international airport in Sylhet to close on Friday.
Around the regional capital, residents walked in waist-deep water along highways alongside stalled, partially submerged vehicles.
Forecasters said the flooding will worsen in the next two days with heavy rain in Bangladesh and upriver in northeast India.
Before this week’s rains, the Sylhet region was still recovering from its worst flooding in nearly two decades late last month, when at least 10 people were killed and four million more affected.
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