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Dozens dead as flooding hits Bangladesh, India

China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-23 10:00
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A fruit vendor sells bananas along a flooded street following heavy rains in Sylhet, Bangladesh, on Saturday. MAMUN HOSSAIN/AFP

SYLHET, Bangladesh-Heavy rains have caused widespread flooding in parts of Bangladesh and India, leaving millions stranded and at least 57 dead, officials said on Saturday.

In Bangladesh, about two million people have been marooned by the worst floods in the country's northeast for nearly 20 years. On Sunday, the floods began receding.

At least 100 villages in the subdistrict of Zakiganj were inundated after floodwater rushing from India's northeast breached a major embankment on the Barak River, said Mosharraf Hossain, chief government administrator of the Sylhet region.

"Some two million people have been stranded by floods so far," he told Agence France-Presse.

Arifuzzman Bhuiyan, head of the state-run Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre, told AFP that the floods had hit some 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.

Many parts of Bangladesh and neighboring regions in India are prone to flooding, and experts say climate change is increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events worldwide.

Every extra degree of global warming increases the amount of water in the atmosphere by about seven percent, with inevitable effects on rainfall.

On Saturday Assam authorities said more than 850,000 people in about 3,200 villages had been affected by the floods, triggered by torrential rains that submerged swathes of farmland and damaged thousands of homes.

Nearly 90,000 people have been moved to state-run relief shelters as water levels in rivers run high and large swathes of land remain submerged in most districts.

West of Assam, at least 33 people were killed in Bihar state in thunderstorms on Thursday.

More than three dozen people were injured in the unseasonal weather events that damaged hundreds of hectares of standing crops and thousands of fruit trees.

Heat wave

Bihar also suffered an intense heat wave last week, with temperatures reaching 40 C.

In Zakiganj, Bangladesh, people were seen fishing on submerged roads, and some residents took their cattle to flood shelters.

AFP quoted Shamim Ahmed, 50, a bus driver as saying: "My house is under waist-deep water. There is no drinking water, we are harvesting rainwater. Rain is simultaneously a blessing and a curse for us now."

All the furniture in the home of Lalila Begum, a widow, was ruined, she said, but she and her two daughters were staying put, hoping the waters would recede within a day or two.

"My two daughters and I put one bed on another and are living on top of it. There's scarcity of food. We're sharing one person's food and one meal a day."

Floodwater had entered many parts of Sylhet city, the largest in the northeast, where AFP quoted an official as saying about 50,000 families had been without power for days.

Hossain, the chief administrator, said the flooding was driven by both rains and the onrush of water from across the border in Assam.

However, officials said the broken embankment on the border at Zakiganj could only be fixed once the water level dropped.

Agencies via Xinhua

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