至少 25 dead and millions stranded as floods devastate India and Bangladesh

至少 25 people died as floods cut a swatch across north-eastern India and Bangladesh, leaving millions of homes underwater, authorities said on Saturday.

In India’s Assam state, at least nine people died in the floods and 2 million others saw their homes submerged in flood waters, according to the state disaster management agency.

Lightning in parts of Bangladesh killed nine people on Friday.

Both countries have asked the military to help with the severe flooding, which could worsen because rains are expected to continue over the weekend.

The Brahmaputra, one of Asia’s largest rivers, breached its mud embankments, inundating 3,000 villages and croplands in 28 of Assam’s 33 districts.

“We expect moderate to heavy rainfall in several parts of Assam till Sunday,” said Sanjay O’Neil, an official at the meteorological station in Gauhati, Assam’s capital. “The volume of rainfall has been unprecedented.”

Several train services were cancelled in India amid incessant rains over the past five days. In southern Assam’s Haflong town, the railway station was under water and flooded rivers deposited mud and silt along the rail tracks.

India’s army has been asked to help other disaster response agencies rescue stranded people and provide food and essentials to those whose houses are submerged under flood waters.

“We are using speedboats and inflatable rafts to rescue flood-hit people,” an army official said.

In Bangladesh, districts near the Indian border have been worst affected.

Water levels in all major rivers across the country were rising, according to the flood forecasting and warning centre in Dhaka, the capital. The country has about 130 rivers.

The centre said the flood situation was likely to deteriorate in the worst-hit Sunamganj and Sylhet districts in the north-eastern region as well as in Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Rangpur districts in northern Bangladesh.

Flight operations at the Osmani international airport in Sylhet have been suspended for three days as flood waters have almost reached the runway, according to Hafiz Ahmed, the airport manager.

上个月, a pre-monsoon flash flood, triggered by a rush of water from upstream in India’s north-eastern states, hit Bangladesh’s northern and north-eastern regions, destroying crops and damaging homes and roads. The country was just starting to recover from that shock when fresh rains flooded the same areas again this week.

Bangladesh, a nation of 160 百万人, is low-lying and faces threats from climate change-related natural disasters such as floods and cyclones. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 关于 17% of people in Bangladesh would need to be relocated over the next decade or so if global warming persists at the present rate.

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