Millions displaced, over 50 dead in India and Bangladesh as heavy rain triggers flooding

More than six million people have been affected and dozens killed in India and Bangladesh after flash floods wreaked havoc over the last week, causing damage to life and property.

In the Indian state of Assam, the death toll in the floods reached 18 on Saturday. The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said that the number of people hit by the devastating floods is 680,118.

Authorities said that 74,907 flood-hit people have taken shelter in 282 relief camps, while another 214 relief distribution centres are operational. The districts of Nagaon, Cachar and Hojai were affected worst.

Efforts are on to restore communications in Haflong, which saw widespread destruction earlier this week, reported Press Trust of India.

Videos on social media showed the Haflong railway station submerged in floodwaters following heavy rains and landslides in the area.

On Friday, the Indian Air Force deployed teams to rescue those who were stranded in Haflong. The national disaster relief force and paramilitary forces have also been deployed to aid state emergency relief services in rescue and rehabilitation work.

Embankments, roads, bridges, houses and other infrastructure were affected in the flood hit areas on Saturday, the ASDMA said.

In eastern India’s Bihar, 33 people have been killed in floods and thunderstorms, chief minister Nitish Kumar announced on Saturday. Heavy rain has also been reported from the state of Karnataka.

Floods have also affected dozens in neighbouring Bangladesh, where around 657km of 153 roads in Sylhet and Sunamganj areas have been submerged due to flood waters from the rivers Surma and Kushiyara flowing above the danger levels, reported The Daily Star.

Officials said that they have not been able to assess the financial losses created by the flood as areas continue to remain submerged.

Md Enamul Kabir, executive engineer of the local government engineering department in Sylhet, said: “Around 267km of 111 rural roads have been damaged due to the flood. But as the roads are still underwater, we are not being able to assess the financial loss.”

Heavy rain in the region along with the effects of the cyclonic storm Asani worsened conditions in Bangladesh’s north-east.

Local reports said that over 1.2 million people have been stranded in the region as all major rivers swelled, with many surpassing danger levels in recent days.

Debjyoti Das, of Sobhanighat area, said they knew the Surma river was swelling but had no idea that their neighbourhood would be submerged overnight.

A fruit vendor sells bananas along a flooded street following heavy rains in Sylhet on Saturday

(AFP via Getty)

“We are now shifting to the upper floors considering that the situation may deteriorate further,” he said.

“My house is under waist-deep water. There is no drinking water, we are harvesting rainwater,” Shamim Ahmed, who works as a bus driver, told AFP.

On Saturday, water levels in the rivers of Sylhet had begun to fall due to low rainfall in Cherrapunji and Assam in India, reported the Dhaka Tribune.

However, authorities said water levels were still rising in Sunamganj, and several embankments had collapsed in Surma and Kushiyara due to high water levels.

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