Millions in Bangladesh, India await relief after deadly flooding

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NC Monitoring Desk

DHAKA: Authorities in flood-hit Bangladesh and northeastern India scrambled to provide aid to more than nine million people marooned after heaviest rains in years killed at least 54 people across both South Asian nations, officials said.

Monsoon rains in low-lying Bangladesh have triggered catastrophic flooding in northeastern Sylhet administrative division, leaving a quarter of its 15 million population stranded amid fast-rising waters and swollen rivers.

“Flooding is worst in 122 years in Sylhet region,” said Atiqul Haque, Director General of Bangladesh’s Department of Disaster Management. Situation in Sylhet has been worsened by waters cascading down from surrounding hills of India’s Meghalaya state, including some of world’s wettest areas like Mawsynram and Cherrapunji that each received more than 970mm of rain, according to government data. Around 300,000 people have been moved to shelters in Sylhet but more than four million people are stranded near their inundated homes, compounding challenges for authorities to provide aid, including drinking water and medical supplies.

“Situation is still alarming,” Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, Sylhet division’s chief administrator, told Reuters by phone.

“We are intensifying our efforts providing relief materials. At moment, main challenge is to reach everyone and ensuring availability of drinking water.”