Flooding in Bangladesh and India have left at least 59 dead and millions more homeless, with torrential rains pummeling the countries — with no end in sight.
Soliders have been called up in both Bangladesh and Northern India to rescue thousands who remain stranded. Lightning storms have killed at least 21 people in Bangladesh, while the remainder were lost to floods, lightning and landslides in India, Agence France-Presse reported Saturday.
In the Indian state of Assam, 2 million homes were underwater, the state disaster management agency reported. Locals describe a dire situation on the ground.
“How can we eat (in this condition)?” Anjuman Ara Begum said from her flooded kitchen. “We are living on muri (puffed rice) and chira (flattened rice) and other things given by people. What else can we do? We can’t cook.”
Bangladesh has about 130 rivers all of which were rising perilously close to their embankments, according to the flood forecasting and warning center in Dhaka, the capital.
“The whole village went under water by early Friday and we all got stranded,” said one man, identified as Lokman. “After waiting a whole day on the roof of our home, a neighbor rescued us with a makeshift boat. My mother said she has never seen such floods in her entire life.”
The floodwater almost reached the runway of Osmani International Airport in the Bangladesh’s Sylhet region, forcing flights to be suspended for three days, said Hafiz Ahmed, the airport manager. The city’s Sunamganj highway was also flooded, though some traffic was still able to move, according to reports.
“Much of the country’s northeast is underwater and the situation is getting worse as heavy downpour continues,” said Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, chief administrator of Sylhet.
Local television footage has shown desperate residents wading through chest high water, carrying what possessions they can. In some cases schools have been been turned into relief shelters.
In Assam meanwhile, The Brahmaputra River — one of the continent’s largest — overflowed its embankments flooding at least 3,000 villages.
“We expect moderate to heavy rainfall in several parts of Assam till Sunday. The volume of rainfall has been unprecedented,” said Sanjay O’Neil an official at the state meteorological station in Assam’s capital city Gauhati.
Both countries have faced increasingly severe weather in recent years, and catastrophic flooding had become commonplace. Environmentalists say climate change is to blame and will hit particularly hard in dense, low-lying areas like Bangladesh.
About 17% of Bangladesh’s 170 million people will need to be relocated in the next decade if global warming continues on its current pace according to the, U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
With Post Wires