The monsoon rains caused widespread floods in northeastern Bangladesh and India, blocking nearly 6 million people and killing at least 41 people.
The flood in Bangladesh, described by a government expert as potentially the worst since 2004, was exacerbated by the outflow of torrential rains through the Indian Mountains.
“Much of the northeastern part of the country is under water and the situation is deteriorating as torrential rains continue,” said Mohammad Mosharaf Hosain, chief administrator of the Sylhet district of Bangladesh.
Before this week’s rainfall, the Sylhet area was still recovering from its worst flood in nearly two decades late last month, killing at least 10 people and affecting four million others.
Seasonal monsoon rains, a lifeline for farmers in South Asia, also typically cause deaths and property damage each year.
Bangladesh and India have been experiencing increasing extreme weather conditions in recent years, causing extensive damage. Environmentalists warn that climate change could lead to more disasters, especially in low-lying and densely populated Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s Sunamganj district, the worst affected, is almost cut off from the rest of the country, Hossein said, adding that authorities and the army are focused on rescuing captured people and distributing aid.
Many of Bangladesh’s rivers have risen to dangerous levels, said Arifuzaman Bhuiyan, head of the state’s flood forecasting and warning center.
In the neighboring northeastern Indian state of Assam, armed forces have been called in for rescue efforts after landslides killed at least nine people and displaced nearly 2 million from their homes in the past 10 days, officials said.
“Soldiers are assisting police and civilian authorities in several parts of Assam in evacuating trapped villagers,” Johann Mohan, the state’s revenue minister, told Reuters.
Heavy rains flooded 25 of the state’s 33 counties in six days.