The worst flooding in northeastern Bangladesh in nearly 20 years began to ease on Sunday, but rescuers struggled to help millions of people stranded by extreme weather in the region, killing about 60.
Floods are a regular threat to millions of people in low-lying Bangladesh and neighboring northeast India, but many experts say climate change is increasing its frequency, brutality and unpredictability.
In the past week, after heavy rainfall in India, flooding broke through a major levee in Bangladesh’s Sylhet region, affecting around two million people, inundating dozens of villages and killing at least ten people.
Arifuzzman Bhuiyan, head of the state-run flood forecasting and warning center, told AFP that the floods had affected about 70 percent of Sylhet district and about 60 percent of neighboring Sunamganj.
“It is one of the worst floods in the region,” he told AFP.
But he said the situation would further improve in the coming days after the heavy rains stopped.
Police said a fight broke out in the rural town of Companyganj on Saturday as authorities stepped up assistance to the roughly two million people.
“There were more people affected by the floods than estimated aid packages. At one point, everyone started snatching relief supplies as police dispersed the crowd,” local police chief Sukanto Chakrobarti told AFP.
Mozibur Rahman, chief of Sylhet district, said the washed-out dyke along the Bangladesh-India border has yet to be repaired.
“It is impossible to repair the levee unless the water flow from India drops. The flooding scenario in Sylhet town has improved. But the outer towns are still under water,” Rahman said.
“We are trying to send aid and have opened hundreds of shelters for the flood-affected people.”
Mofizul Islam, a resident of the town of Sylhet where the water was slowly receding, said he fell from his motorcycle after hitting a pit hidden under the water on Sunday.
“It is very risky for the people who go out today,” Islam told AFP.
50 dead in India
Across the border in India, about 50 people have died in days of flooding, landslides and thunderstorms, according to local disaster relief authorities.
In the northeastern state of Assam, authorities said on Sunday there were casualties of the floods had reached 18.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), nearly 3,250 villages were partially or completely under water.
ASDMA officials said the situation had improved somewhat, but remained critical in some districts.
According to their estimate, more than 92,000 people were in relief camps.
The state and national rescue forces, aided by the military, were busy rescuing people from villages and distributing food, clean drinking water and other necessities, as well as clearing roads.
At least 33 people were killed in thunderstorms west of Assam on Thursday in Bihar state.
Bihar, like other parts of northern India and Pakistan, has experienced an intense heat wave, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)