Historic flooding in Bangladesh and Assam

Bangladesh Flood
A family collects their goods before leaving their submerged home after flash floods at Goainghat sub-distric in Sylhet

In historic flood in many parts of Bangladesh and Northeast India hundreds of people have died and millions are stranded.

About 4 million people were marooned in the northeastern Sylhet administrative division in Bangladesh, which is about a quarter of its population.

In India North East state of Assam is worst affected where heavy rains are continuing for over two weeks.

Monsoon rains in South Asia typically begin in June. But this year heavy downpours lashed northeastern India and Bangladesh as early as March, triggering floods as early as April in Bangladesh.

With rising global temperatures due to climate change, experts say the monsoon is becoming more variable, meaning that much of the rain that would typically fall in a season is arriving in a shorter period.

A wide swath of Bangladesh has been impacted by the disaster, forcing mass evacuations – up to 100,000 people in the hardest-hit areas – while millions have been left stranded, according to The Associated Press.

Assam state officials said about 200,000 people have been taken to makeshift shelters in 700 relief camps as all major rivers in Assam swelled well above danger levels, according to the AP. The Brahmaputra River, which runs nearly 800 km (500 miles) from Tibet and into Bangladesh and India, also overflowed, flooding millions of homes and cutting transport links.

Authorities in Assam reported a total of at least 73 deaths in the state. At least 17 of these deaths were the result of landslides.

At least five people were also killed in a landslide in the neighboring state of Meghalaya on Monday..

In Bangladesh nearly 6 million people have been displaced due to the floods, the news agency Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) reported.

Also, nearly 2.5 million acres (over 1 million hectares) of farmland have been flooded throughout the country. Villagers in remote areas of the country have been struggling to get food and drinking water as access remains cut off. The military helped deliver food and other relief supplies to some flooded towns and villages in Bangladesh.

“I have never seen such floods in my life. Dry food is running out. There is no drinking water,” Khalilur Rahman, a resident of Sylhet’s Sunamganj district, told Reuters.

Assam Flood
A flood-affected man moves his cattle to a safer place through a flooded field after heavy rains in Nagaon district, Assam, India, June 21, 2022. REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika

With rains abating, there was a slight improvement in the overall flood situation in Assam Wednesday. However, Silchar in south Assam’s Barak Valley remained submerged, even 48 hours after an embankment breach. Families continue to be stranded in their waterlogged homes, and the town is facing a massive shortage of food and drinking water. Electricity has also been cut off in several parts of the town.

An ASDMA bulletin stated that 5.45 lakh people are currently affected in 32 districts of the state, and 2.7 lakh are in relief camps. Twelve people died Wednesday, taking the total death toll from floods this year to 100.

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