Natural disasters affect 41m people in Bangladesh, India, Nepal

Natural disasters affect 41m people in Bangladesh, India, Nepal

Thursday, August 31, 2017 11:08 pm

File photo: A flooded area

The UN on Thursday said at least 41 million people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal have been directly affected by flooding and landslides from the monsoon rains that begun in June.

The monsoon, according to the UN, might continue until October.

It said that over 1,700 people have died in catastrophic floods in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan as torrential rains pound swathes of South Asia during its worst monsoon season in more than a decade.

Estimates from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and reports showed that more than 1,300 people, mostly villagers died since the beginning of the rainy season in India alone.

The eastern Indian state of Bihar is the worst-affected with more than 500 deaths, as major rivers in spate caused large-scale inundation affecting hundreds of villages across 21 districts.

The country’s financial capital, Mumbai was slashed by heavy rains on Tuesday that claimed over 30 lives, including several from a building collapse on Thursday which officials said was caused by the intense downpour.

“In neighbouring Pakistan, heavy rains caused a massive deluge in the port city of Karachi on Thursday, killing at least a dozen people.

“The overall death toll for the season stood at more than 100, Nepal was also experiencing heavy floods which have claimed 159 lives so far,’’ NDMA said.

The country’s eastern hills and plains along the border with India were severely affected.

In Bangladesh, 141 people have died after floodwaters from upstream rivers from Indian hills swelled Bangladeshi river systems.

“Tens of thousands of homes, as well as schools and hospitals, have been destroyed leaving people displaced and homeless,’’ the UN said.

According to Jagan Chapagain, Undersecretary General for Programmes and Operations at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said “this is the worst flooding that parts of South Asia have seen in decades.

“Entire communities have been cut off, and the only way to get aid to some of these villages is by boat and many are running out of food.”

Floodwaters also become a breeding ground for diseases such as diarrhoea and malaria, aid agencies have warned.

The death toll across the region could rise as conditions could deteriorate in the coming days with more rain forecast.


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