INDIA, GUWAHATI: Floodwaters overwhelmed more of Bangladesh and northeast India on Tuesday (Jun 21), according to officials, as authorities attempted to reach more than 9.5 million people stuck with limited food and drinking water after days of heavy rain.
Heavy monsoon rains have caused the worst floods in more than a century in some regions of low-lying Bangladesh, killing at least 69 people during the last two weeks in Bangladesh and northeast India’s Assam state.
“People are going hungry. They are unable to obtain drinking water because floodwaters have inundated all tube-wells “Abu Bakar, 26, a resident of northeastern Bangladesh’s hard-hit Sunamganj district, told Reuters by phone.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina flew over some of the flood-affected areas, looking down on vast swaths of brown water punctuated by the occasional outcrop of land, according to television footage.
Between June and October, the monsoon delivers strong rains to South Asia, often causing floods, particularly in low-lying countries like Bangladesh, where rivers swelled with water pouring out of the Himalayas frequently overflow their banks.
Extreme weather has grown more common in South Asia, and environmentalists warn that climate change could lead to increasingly severe calamities.
According to Atiqul Haque, director-general of Bangladesh’s Department of Disaster Management, three more districts in the country’s northern and central regions have been flooded.
“The local administration has been involved in rescue and relief operations, as have the army, navy, police, fire and emergency services workers, and volunteers,” Haque stated.
The floods in the Sylhet region, which includes Sunamganj, are the worst in over a century, according to the UN Children’s Fund, and 90% of its health facilities have been submerged, with reports of waterborne infections on the rise.