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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Authorities try to help flood-hit villages in South Asia

DHAKA, Bangladesh ( Associated Press) – Authorities in India and Bangladesh struggled on Monday to provide food and drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people evacuated from their homes during flood days.

The floods triggered by the monsoon rains have claimed over a dozen lives, left lakhs homeless and inundated lakhs of homes.

Villagers flooded the streets with knee-deep water on the banks of the Surma river in Sylhet, northeast Bangladesh. A man stood at the entrance of his flooded shop, where the top shelves were flooded with items in an attempt to keep him above the water. Local TV said millions were left without electricity.

Inamur Rahman, junior minister for disasters and relief, said more than 100,000 people have been evacuated in the worst-hit districts, including Sylhet. United News of Bangladesh said that around 40 lakh people are stranded.

Floods also ravaged India’s northeastern state of Assam, where two policemen involved in rescue operations were washed away in flood waters on Sunday, state officials said. He said around two lakh people are taking shelter in 700 relief camps. The water of all the major rivers of the state is above the danger mark.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said his administration was using military helicopters to deliver food and fuel to the worst-affected parts of the state.

Assam is already reeling under heavy floods caused by torrential rains over the past few weeks that eroded the banks of the Brahmaputra river, submerging lakhs of homes and disrupting transport links.

The Brahmaputra flows from Tibet into India and Bangladesh, with a journey of about 800 kilometers (500 mi) through Assam.

Major roads in the affected areas of Bangladesh were inundated, leaving people stranded. In a country with a history of climate change-induced disastersMany expressed disappointment that the authorities had not done much at the local level.

“Not much to say about the situation. You can see the water with your own eyes. The water level inside the room has dropped a bit. It used to be up to my waist,” says a grocery store in Sylhet Owner of Mohit Ahmed said.

Bangladesh called in troops on Friday to help evacuate people, but Ahmed said he had not seen any yet.

“We are in a big disaster. Neither Sylhet Municipal Corporation nor anyone else came here to inquire about us. “I am trying to save my belongings as much as I can. We do not have the capacity to do that anymore ”

The National Flood Forecasting and Warning Center said on Sunday that the flood situation may worsen in the northeastern districts of Sunamganj and Sylhet. It said the Teesta, a major river in northern Bangladesh, may rise above the danger mark. The situation may worsen in other northern districts as well.

Officials said the flood waters have started receding in the northeast, but are posing a threat to the central region, where the waters flow into the Bay of Bengal in the south.

Media reports said villagers in remote areas are struggling to get drinking water and food.

BRAC, a private non-profit group, on Monday opened a center to prepare food as part of a plan to feed 5,000 families in an affected district, but the arrangement was inadequate, senior director Arinjoy Dhar said. In a video posted online, Dhar sought help in providing food for the flood-affected people.

Last month, pre-monsoon flash floods Upstream waters in India’s northeastern states caused flooding in the northern and northeastern regions of Bangladesh, destroying crops and damaging homes and roads.

Bangladesh is mostly flat and low-lying, so short-term floods are common during the monsoon season and are often beneficial to agriculture. But devastating floods hit the country every few years, damaging its infrastructure and economy. According to the World Bank, about 28% of the country’s 160 million people live in coastal areas.

One of the worst floods came in 1988, when much of the country was submerged. In 1998, another devastating flood inundated nearly 75% of the country. In 2004, there were more prolonged floods.

Scientists say that climate change has worsened the flood situation in Bangladesh. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if global warming continues at the current rate, about 17% of the population will need to relocate over the next decade.

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Hussain reported from Guwahati, India. Associated Press writer Al-Amrun Garjon in Sylhet, Bangladesh, contributed to this report.

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