India and Bangladesh Floods Leave At Least 18 Dead

DHAKA, Bangladesh — At least 18 people have died as massive floods ravaged northeastern India and Bangladesh, leaving millions of homes underwater and severing transport links, authorities said Saturday.

In India’s Assam state, at least nine people were killed in the floods and 2 million saw their homes submerged, according to the state disaster management agency.

Nine people were killed by lightning in Bangladesh on Friday.

Due to more flooding, the two countries have reached out to their military for aid. The weekend is expected see rains.

The Brahmaputra, one of Asia’s largest rivers, breached its mud embankments, inundating 3,000 villages and croplands in 28 of Assam’s 33 districts.

“We expect moderate to heavy rainfall in several parts of Assam till Sunday. The volume of rainfall has been unprecedented,” said Sanjay O’Neil, an official at the meteorological station in Gauhati, Assam’s capital.

Numerous train services had to be cancelled in India due to incessant rains that have been falling for five consecutive days. In southern Assam’s Haflong town, the railway station was underwater and flooded rivers deposited mud and silt along the rail tracks.

India’s army has been mobilized to assist disaster response agencies in rescuing stranded people and providing food and other essentials. For navigation through the submerged zones, soldiers used speedboats or inflatable rafts.

Districts near India’s border in Bangladesh have suffered the most severe effects.

According to Dhaka (the capital), water levels in major rivers were rising. It has 130 rivers.

The centre said that the flood situation will worsen in Sunamganj district in the northeastern region, as well in Lalmonirhat (Kurigram, Nilphamari, Rangpur) districts in northern Bangladesh.

According to Hafiz Ahmad, airport manager, flight operations have been suspended at Osmani International Airport (Sylhet) for three days because floodwaters are almost reaching the runway.

Last month, a pre-monsoon flash flood, triggered by a rush of water from upstream in India’s northeastern states, hit Bangladesh’s northern and northeastern regions, destroying crops and damaging homes and roads. As the country was beginning to recover, fresh rainfall flooded these same regions again this week.

Bangladesh, home to 160 million citizens, is low-lying. The country faces natural disasters including floods and cyclones. Climate change has made it more dangerous. According to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, about 17% of people in Bangladesh would need to be relocated over the next decade or so if global warming persists at the present rate.

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