Floods in South Asia: Millions in India and Bangladesh affected by heavy rainfall in region

The South Asian countries, home to more than 1.3 billion people, have been particularly hard hit by the rain, leading to some of the region’s worst flooding in years, such as extreme weather conditions are becoming increasingly common due to the climate crisis.

At least 48 people have died in India since June 14, after torrential rains ravaged the northeastern state of Assam, according to the disaster relief authority, causing landslides and swollen riverbanks. More than 5.5 million people have been affected in the state alone, the authority added.

Assam’s prime minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Tuesday visited one of the 1,687 relief camps housing more than 260,000 displaced people in the state.

“Our government will soon launch a portal for the affected people to record their loss of livestock and other damage caused by flooding,” he said. wrote on Twitter. “A flood relief package will also be announced shortly.”

In the nearby state of Meghalaya, at least 25 people have been killed, 11 missing and 22 injured since June 9, according to state officials.

Video broadcasts on local television showed people in affected cities wading waist-deep in muddy water and turning streets into rivers, with vehicles submerged.

Flood-affected people stand in knee-deep flood waters to collect food aid after heavy monsoon rains in Sunamganj district, Bangladesh on June 21, 2022.

In neighboring Bangladesh, officials say at least 22 people have been killed in flood-related incidents, including electrocutions and landslides.

According to UNICEF, as many as 4 million people, including 1.6 million children, have been stranded by the flash floods.

“Children now need safe drinking water. Preventing deadly waterborne diseases is one of the top concerns,” Sheldon Yett, UNICEF representative in Bangladesh, said in a statement Monday.

The downpour has caused catastrophic flooding in the northeastern region of Sylhet, local officials said.

“The floods are the worst in 122 years in the Sylhet region,” Atiqul Haque, director-general of Bangladesh’s Disaster Management Department, told Reuters on Monday.

An aerial view of a flooded area after heavy monsoon rains in Companiganj, Bangladesh on June 20, 2022.

According to UNICEF, health facilities in Sylhet have been flooded, while children were at increased risk of drowning.

More than 36,000 children and their families have sought refuge in overcrowded shelters, UNICEF said.

Schools have been forced to close and exams have been cancelled, further impacting their education after months of closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, it added.

Extreme weather events in South Asia are becoming more frequent as a result of the climate crisis, with temperatures in parts of India and Pakistan reaching record levels during a heat wave in April and May. Scientists said the climate crisis had created the opportunity for a record-breaking heat wave to hit India and Pakistan “100 times more likely.”
a 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said they had average confidence that heatwaves and humid stress would become “more intense and frequent” and that “annual and summer monsoon rainfall will increase”.

CNN’s Esha Mitra reported.

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