Millions displaced, more than 100 killed in South Asia floods

Guwahati, India: Floods have forced more than four million people from their homes across India, Nepal and Bangladesh and killed more than 100 people as torrential rains in the initial days of monsoons wreaked havoc.

The poor Indian states of Assam and Bihar, in India's north-east, have been among the worst hit.

Flood affected villagers travel on boats near a submerged house in Burha Burhi village east of Gauhati India, on Monday, July 15, 2019.Credit:Anupam Nath

About 4.3 million people have been displaced from their homes in Assam in the past 10 days due to rising waters across the mostly rural northeastern region, according to the government on Monday.

Television channels showed roads and railway lines in Bihar submerged, with people wading through chest-high, churning brown waters, carrying their belongings on their heads.

Floods in South Asia cause mass displacement and deaths annually, and the death toll and damage from the current monsoon season, which has just begun, is likely to increase in coming weeks.

Nepalese people walk through flood waters in Gaur, Rautahat district, Nepal, on Monday, July 15, 2019.Credit:Manish Paudel

Flood waters in Assam rose overnight with the Brahmaputra River, which flows down from the Himalayas into Bangladesh, and its tributaries still in spate.

Most of the Kaziranga National Park, home to the rare one-horned rhino, was underwater, authorities in Assam said, adding that four people drowned on Monday.

"The flood situation has turned very critical with 31 of the 32 districts affected," Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told reporters.

"We are working on a war footing to deal with the flood situation."

Army and paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the state for rescue and relief operations and makeshift shelter camps have been set up, while the air force is on standby, Keshab Mahanta, Assam's water resources minister, said.

The Indian weather office has forecast widespread rains across Assam and Bihar over the next two days.

In neighbouring Nepal, 64 people were killed and 31 were missing, with around a third of all districts hit by heavy rains, authorities said. Many of the deaths were caused by landslides that swept away houses.

In south-east Nepal, water levels on the Kosi River, which flows into Bihar, had receded, a district official said.

"Our analysis is that the danger is over now that the water level has come down," Chiranjibi Giri, assistant district administrator of Sunsari district, said.

In Bangladesh, floods forced an estimated 190,000 people out of their homes, government officials said.

Rescuers look for survivors after a three-story building collapsed in monsoon rains near the town of Solan, 310 kilometers north of New Delhi, India, on Monday, July 15, 2019. Credit:AP

In Cox's Bazar district, shelter to some 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled violence in neighbouring Myanmar, more than 100,000 people have been displaced.

Since early July, flooding and landslides have damaged thousands of shelters at the refugee camps, killing two people, including a child, Human Rights Watch said last week.


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