The worst floods in northeast Bangladesh in nearly 20 years began to recede on Sunday, but rescue workers across the region are battling to help millions of people due to extreme weather that has killed at least 60 people.
Floods are a regular threat to millions of people in low-lying Bangladesh and neighboring northeastern India, but many experts say climate change is increasing frequency, violence and unpredictability.
After heavy rains in India last week, floodwaters inundated a major dam in Bangladesh’s Sylhet region, affecting nearly two million people, flooding dozens of villages and killing at least 10 people.
Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, head of the State Flood Forecasting and Warning Center, told AFP that the floods had affected about 60 per cent of Sylhet district and about 60 per cent of neighboring Sunamganj.
“This is one of the worst floods in the region,” he told AFP.
However, he said the situation would improve in the next few days if the heavy rains stopped.
Police said a fight broke out in the rural town of Kompaniganj on Saturday when authorities stepped up relief efforts for the loss of nearly two million people.
Local police chief Sukant Chakraborty told AFP: “There were more flood victims than the estimated relief pack. At one point, when the police dispersed the crowd, everyone started snatching relief supplies.”
Sylhet district chief Mojibur Rahman said the embankment on the Bangladesh-India border has not been repaired yet.
“It is impossible to fix the embankment without the flow of water from India. The flood situation in Sylhet city has improved. But the cities outside are still under water,” Rahman said.
“We are trying to send relief and have opened hundreds of shelters for the flood victims.”
Mofizul Islam, a resident of Sylhet city, where the floodwaters were slowly receding, said he fell off his motorbike after hitting a hole hidden under water on Sunday.
“It’s very risky for those who are going out today,” Islam told AFP.
50 killed in India
Floods, landslides and lightning across the border in India have killed at least 50 people in just a few days, according to local disaster management authorities.
Authorities in the northeastern state of Assam reported the casualties on Sunday The flood has reached 18.
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), about 3,250 villages have been partially or completely submerged.
ASDMA officials said the situation had improved somewhat but remained critical in some districts.
According to their estimates, more than 92,000 people were in relief camps.
With the help of the army, state and national rescue forces were working to rescue people from the village and distribute food, clean drinking water and other necessities, as well as to clear the roads.
At least 33 people were killed in a lightning strike in the western state of Bihar on Thursday.
Bihar, along with other parts of northern India and Pakistan in general, is experiencing an intense heat wave, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)