Millions stranded as floods ravage Bangladesh, more rain expected – Times of India


DHAKA: Heavy monsoon rains have caused widespread flooding in northeastern Bangladesh, leaving more than four million people stranded, authorities said on Saturday, warning the situation could worsen.
The floods, described by a government expert as possibly the worst in the country since 2004, were exacerbated by heavy rainfall spilling over the Indian mountains. It continued to rain on Saturday and more is forecast to fall over the next two days.
“Much of the northeast of the country is under water and the situation is getting worse as the heavy rainfall continues,” said Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, chief administrator of the Sylhet region.
The worst affected Sunamganj district is almost disconnected from the rest of the country, he said, adding that authorities with the help of the army were focused on rescuing those trapped by the flooding and distributing relief supplies.
“There is a shortage of boats, which makes it more difficult to get people to safer places. Today, the navy is helping us in rescue efforts, he said.
Television images show roads and railways being flooded, while people wade with their belongings and livestock through chest-high brown churning waters.
Four people were killed and three injured after rain-induced landslides hit their homes in the southeastern district Chittagong Early on Saturday, local police officer Wali Uddin Akbar said.
Many of Bangladesh’s rivers had risen to dangerous heights, said Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, head of the state-run Flood Forecasting and Warning Center.
“As the flooding continues, it could be worse than the 2004 floods,” he said, adding that this was the third round of floods to hit the region in two months.
Syed Rafiqul Haque, a former lawmaker and politician from the ruling party in Sunamganj district, said a humanitarian crisis could develop if the floods do not subside and proper rescue operations are not carried out.
“The situation is alarming. There is no electricity, no road connection, no mobile network. People are in dire need of shelter and food,” he said.
Seasonal monsoon rains, a lifeline for farmers across South Asia, typically cause loss of life and property each year.
Bangladesh has had to deal with extreme weather more often in recent years, with extensive damage as a result. Environmentalists warn that climate change could lead to more disasters in the low-lying and densely populated country.
“People have no contact with people. Sunamganj in particular has been without electricity for two days,” said Alomgir Shahriar, a student at University of Dhaka
“I feel so helpless. I can’t contact my relatives when they are in such a terrible situation.”

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