Nearly 600 people have died and millions have been affected by monsoon floods in South Asia, officials said yesterday, as relief and rescue operations continued.
The latest floods and landslides in the subcontinent began in the second week of August, as the annual monsoon strengthened its grip over the northern and eastern parts of the region.
Indian authorities sought military help in two districts of northern Uttar Pradesh state after fresh heavy rains left hundreds of villages marooned.
As many as 33 out of 75 districts in the most populated Indian state are reeling from floods that have left 55 people dead.
At least 20% of the 28mn population is affected in what the United Nations has called the worst flood to hit the country in 15 years.
Further east in India, at least 60 people have died in floods that hit Assam state a second time in less than four months and nearly 425,000 remain in relief camps.
Railway connectivity between the remote region and mainland remained suspended for the sixth consecutive day following large scale damage to the tracks.
Authorities in West Bengal state said the flood waters were receding after a lull in the rains but 52 so far deaths were reported.
At least a hundred people have died in neighbouring Bangladesh with close to 6mn affected by the floods.
The government has opened nearly a thousand shelters in schools and colleges where nearly 300,000 people have taken shelter, the country’s disaster management department said. But there are still pockets of the country where help has yet to reach.
Poresh Mondol, a farmer in the northern district of Kurigram, one of the worst hit areas, has been camping with his family on the roof of his tin-shed house, most of which was submerged.
“No one has come to us with any help. We are left with the last fist-full of dry goods,” he told AFP by phone.
The International Red Cross called it a humanitarian crisis and said urgent action was needed.
“Millions of people across Nepal, Bangladesh and India face severe food shortages and disease caused by polluted flood waters,” said Martin Faller, deputy regional director for Asia Pacific, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
More than 5mn people have been stranded in Bangladesh as monsoon flooding submerged more than one-thirds of the South Asian country and left at least 82 people dead, officials said Friday.
Many of the victims drowned, while others died of snake bites and electrocution, disaster management official Al Mamun told DPA.
Mamun added a total of 27 out of 64 administrative districts, which account for more than 35% of the country’s landmass, have been inundated since the rain-triggered flood turned severe last week.
Numerous homesteads and farmland in the north and north-east regions have been washed away by the rush of water from rivers in neighbouring India, Mamun said.
The number of flood-hit people is 5.14mn, he added. More than 650,000 hectares of croplands have been submerged, he said, referring to an initial report by the government’s Agriculture Extension Department.
Relief and Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury said the government has distributed adequate quantity of dry food, rice and cash to support the flood victims.
According to the ministry, 8,190 tonnes of rice and Tk 24.4mn ($300,647) have been distributed among the affected people as emergency response to the disaster.
Bangladesh’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Center said some central districts around the capital Dhaka may be submerged, as water in one of the major rivers was still rising.
The capital city is out of danger for now, Sarder Udoy Raihan, an official at the centre, said.
More than 130 people were killed in June by landslides triggered by heavy rain in Bangladesh’s hilly south-east.
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