Both countries have asked their militaries for help as more flooding looms and rain is expected to continue this weekend.
In Sylhet in northeastern Bangladesh, on the banks of the Surma River, children sat on a window of a flooded house while other relatives gathered on a bed in their flooded house, some wondering how they could endure the ordeal .
“How can we eat (in this condition)?” said Anjuman Ara Begum, standing in the water in her kitchen. “We live on muri (puffed rice) and chira (flattened rice) and other things given by people. What else can we do? We can’t cook.”
Flights at Osmani International Airport in Sylhet were suspended for three days as the water nearly reached the runway, said Hafiz Ahmed, the airport manager. The Sylhet Sunamganj highway was also flooded, but motorcycles drove on.
According to the flood forecasting and warning center in the capital Dhaka, water levels rose in all major rivers across the country. The country has about 130 rivers.
The center said the flooding situation is likely to worsen in the worst-affected Sunamganj and Sylhet districts in the northeastern region, as well as Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Rangpur districts in northern Bangladesh.
The Brahmaputra, one of Asia’s largest rivers, broke through the mudbanks and flooded 3,000 villages and fields in 28 of Assam’s 33 districts across the border in India.
“We expect moderate to heavy rainfall in various parts of Assam through Sunday. The amount of rain is unprecedented,” said Sanjay O’Neil, an official at the meteorological station in Gauhati, Assam’s capital.
Due to the persistent rain of the past five days, several train services have been canceled in India. In the south Assam town of Haflong, the train station was flooded and flooded rivers deposited mud and silt along the tracks.
The Indian military has been mobilized to assist disaster relief services in rescuing stranded people and providing food and other supplies. Soldiers used speedboats and inflatable rafts to navigate flooded areas.
Last month, a flash flood before the monsoon caused by a surge of water upstream in India’s northeastern states, the northern and northeastern regions of Bangladesh, destroyed crops and damaged homes and roads. The country was just beginning to recover as fresh rains flooded the same areas again this week.
Bangladesh, a country of 160 million inhabitants, is low-lying and threatened by natural disasters such as floods and cyclones, exacerbated by climate change. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, about 17% of people in Bangladesh would have to be relocated in the next decade if global warming continues at its current rate.
Hussain reported from Gauhati, India.