Official statements and news reports said early Saturday that hundreds of thousands of people were stranded in Bangladesh’s northeastern and northern regions due to heavy rains, forcing authorities to deploy military troops for evacuation and relief work.
Army’s Inter-Services Public Relations Office said on its website that troops have been deployed in the flood-hit northeast districts of Sunamganj and Sylhet, with thousands of homes inundated with power outages. At least nine people were killed in the delta nation after being struck by lightning on Friday amid rain, the United News of Bangladesh Agency reported.
The government’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Center in the country’s capital Dhaka said in a statement on Friday that water in all major rivers across the country was rising. There are about 130 rivers in the country. The Center said that the flood situation is likely to worsen in the next 24 hours in the worst-affected Sunamganj, Sylhet districts in the Northeast region as well as Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Rangpur districts of northern Bangladesh. Hafiz Ahmed, the manager of Osmani International Airport in Sylhet, said on Friday that flight operations at the airport have been suspended for three days as flood waters almost reached the runway. Last month, pre-monsoon flash floods caused by inundation of water from India’s northeastern states affected the northern and northeastern regions of Bangladesh, destroying crops and causing significant damage to homes and road networks. The country was only recovering from that setback, but this year the same areas again received fresh rains as the monsoon started just a few days earlier. Bangladesh, a country of 160 million people, is at a low risk of climate change-related natural disasters such as floods and cyclones. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, about 17% of people in Bangladesh will need to relocate over the next decade or so if global warming remains at the current rate.
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