Dhaka/New Delhi: At least 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 strikes triggered by the storms had killed at least 21 people in Bangladesh since Friday afternoon, police officials said. Among them were three children aged 12 to 14 who were struck in the rural town of Nandail.
Another four people were killed when landslides hit their hillside homes in the port city of Chittagong.
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.
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.
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.
Last month, 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.
Bangladesh, a nation of 160 million people, 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, about 17% of people in Bangladesh would need to be relocated over the next decade or so if global warming persists at the present rate.