Soldiers on small boats have delivered relief material across flooded towns and villages in Bangladesh, after more than nine million people were marooned in the low-lying country and neighboring India following heavy rains, officials said.
- Bangladesh’s Sylhet region has seen its worst flooding in 122 years, according to a local official
- Of its population of around 15 million, around one-quarter of Bangladeshis remain stranded
- At least 32 people have died in Bangladesh’s flooding, while flooding has eased in nearby India
At least 32 people have been killed in Bangladesh since late last week when monsoon downpours triggered catastrophic flooding in the north-eastern Sylhet administrative division.
It has left around a quarter of Bangladesh’s 15 million population stranded amid fast-rising waters and swollen rivers.
“The flooding is the worst in 122 years in the Sylhet region,” said the director-general of Bangladesh’s Department of Disaster Management, Atiqul Haque.
He added that a dozen districts in the north and north-east of Bangladesh had been swamped by floods.
“Rescue and relief operations have been intensified, with army and navy officials reaching out to more people trapped in floodwater,” Mr Haque said.
Large areas of entire settlements were submerged under brown, swirling waters, as military personnel in boats arrived with drinking water and food for people sheltering in the upper floors of buildings, local television footage showed.
Government authorities are attempting to deliver 1,720 tons of rice and 58,000 packets of dry food, as well as water purification tablets and medicines, to flood-hit communities.
More than 970mm rain falls in one day
The situation in Bangladesh has been worsened by waters cascading down from the surrounding hills of India’s Meghalaya state.
This includes some of the world’s wettest areas, such as Mawsynram and Cherrapunji, which each received more than 970 millimeters of rain on Sunday, according to government data.
Meghalaya and neighboring Assam state have received 134 per cent more rainfall than the average for June, according to data compiled by the state-run India Meteorological Department.
In Bangladesh, around 300,000 people have been moved to shelters in Sylhet, but more than four million people are stranded near their homes.
‘No water and dry food is running out’
Khalilur Rahman — a resident of Sylhet’s Sunamganj district — said flood waters had swamped the ground floor of his two-storey house.
“I have never seen such floods in my life,” Mr Rahman, 43, said by phone, adding that there had been no electricity since heavy rains began on Thursday night.
“Dry food is running out. There is no drinking water.”
In India’s Assam state, where at least 26 people have been killed since heavy rains began about a fortnight ago, flood waters have started receding, the state government said.
However, 4.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes, with around 220,000 staying in makeshift shelters run by the government. Over a million hectares of farmland have been flooded.
“The overall flood situation is improving [but] the biggest challenge is to reach out to the displaced people and provide them with relief materials,” said Pijush Hazarika, Assam’s Water Resources Minister.
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