More than 9.5m stranded as floods swamp more of Bangladesh and India – World

Officials said more floods in Bangladesh and northeastern India flooded on Tuesday as authorities struggled to access more than 9.5 million people stranded due to shortages of food and water after several days of torrential rain.

Heavy rains in particular have caused the worst flooding in more than a century, killing at least 69 people in the past two weeks in parts of low-lying Bangladesh and in the state of Assam in northeastern India.

“People are running out of food,” said Abu Bakar, 26, a resident of the heavily damaged Sunamganj district in northeast Bangladesh. Reuters by phone.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina flew over parts of the flood-affected area on Tuesday, looking down on a huge area covered in brown water, which was occasionally crushed by an outcrop in the ground.

Monsoons bring heavy rains in South Asia between June and October, often causing flooding, especially in low-lying areas like Bangladesh, where rivers swelled up by pouring water from the Himalayas often burst their dykes.

Extreme weather in South Asia has become more frequent, and environmentalists warn that climate change could lead to more catastrophic disasters.

Attikul Hake, director of the Bangladesh Disaster Management Agency, said three more areas in northern and central Bangladesh were flooded.

“Local administrations, along with Army, Navy, Police, Fire and Emergency Services personnel and volunteers, have been involved in rescue and relief operations,” Haque said.

Flooding in the Sylhet region, including Sunamganj, is the most severe in over 100 years, the UN Children’s Fund says 90% of health facilities have been flooded and cases of waterborne diseases are on the rise.

UNICEF says it is urgently seeking $2.5 million to respond to the emergency in Bangladesh and is working with the government to supply purified water, emergency medical supplies and water bottles.

UNICEF said in a statement that “4 million people in northeast Bangladesh need urgent help, including 1.6 million children stranded in flash floods.”

In some areas, television footage showed Bangladeshi military dropping aid bags from helicopters on people waiting on rooftops.

Syed Rafiqul Haque, a former member of the Sunamganj district and ruling party politician, said the flood shelters were full of people.

“Many people still lack food and water,” he said.

“The cry for help is growing louder.”

‘These ruins’

In neighboring India’s Assam state, floods have blocked three districts of the Barak Valley and water in parts of the region’s main city, Silchar, could be waist-submerged, authorities and residents said.

Prime Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Assam said “the situation is very serious”. Reuters.

“We will immediately try to airlift fuel to Silchar and two other areas.”

Indian troops and paramilitary groups were called in to help with the rescue operation, evacuating about 1,000 people in the past 72 hours, an official said.

According to data from the state-run Indian Meteorological Agency, Assam and neighboring Meghalaya received 134% more rainfall than the average this year.

The government said about 4.7 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes in Assam and about 330,000 people remained in shelters.

“I am 80 years old and I have never seen such devastation in my life,” said Mazaharul Laska, a retired government official from Silchar.