Monsoon storms in Bangladesh and India have killed at least 41 people and caused devastating floods that left millions more trapped, officials said on Saturday.
Floods are a regular threat to millions of people in lower Bangladesh, but experts say climate change increases their frequency, ferocity and unpredictability.
Relentless torrential rains over the past week have flooded vast sections of northeastern Bangladesh, with troops deployed to evacuate households cut off from neighboring communities.
Schools have been turned into shelters to help shelter entire villages flooded in hours by rivers that have suddenly overflowed their banks.
“The whole village sank under water early Friday and we were all trapped,” said Lockman, whose family lives in the village of Kompanianj.
“After waiting all day on the roof of our house, a neighbor saved us with a makeshift boat. My mother told me she had never seen such floods in her life,” the 23-year-old added.
Asma Actor, 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,” she said. “And how can you cook something when everything is under water?”
Lightning triggered by storms has killed at least 21 people in the South Asian nation since Friday afternoon, police told AFP.
Among them are three children 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 others were killed when landslides hit their homes on a hill in the port city of Chittagong, police inspector Nurul Islam told AFP.
At least 16 people have been killed since Thursday in the remote Indian Megalaya, State Secretary Konrad Sangma tweeted after landslides and raging rivers flooded roads.
In the neighboring state of Assam, more than 1.8 million people were affected by floods after five days of continuous rainfall.
Assam’s chief minister, Himanta Bisua Sarma, told reporters he had instructed district authorities to provide “all necessary help and relief” to those affected by the floods.
“The situation is bad”
Floods in Bangladesh worsened on Saturday morning after a temporary easing of rain last afternoon, the region’s chief government administrator, Sylhet Mosharaf Hossein, told AFP.
“The situation is bad. More than four million people are blocked floods“Hossein said, adding that almost the entire region is without electricity.
The floods forced Bangladesh’s third-largest international airport in Sylhet to close on Friday.
Forecasters said the floods would worsen over the next two days torrential rains in Bangladesh and upstream in northeastern India.
Before this week’s rainfall, the Sylhet area was still recovering from its worst floods in nearly two decades late last month, killing at least 10 people and affecting four million others.
© 2022 AFP
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