The Monsoon rains have wreaked havoc in Southeast Asia, killing hundreds and displacing millions across India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Scores of people are missing and thousands have been put up in relief camps as authorities take stock of the crisis.
In India, the states of Assam and Bihar have been the worst hit. An official government statement said that about 4.3 million people have been displaced from their homes in Assam in the last 10 days due to rising waters across the rural northeastern region. In Bihar, roads and railway lines are under flood waters. People have to wade through chest-high flood waters to carry their belongings and animals up to higher ground.
According to Reuters, flood waters in Assam rose overnight with the Brahmaputra River, which flows down from the Himalayas into Bangladesh, and its tributaries still in spate. Officials said that most of the Kaziranga National Park, that is home to the endangered one-horned rhino, was underwater. They said that death toll has risen as four people drowned on Monday.
Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam Chief Minister said the situation is very critical with 31 of the 32 districts affected. “We are working on a war footing to deal with the flood situation,” he said. The state’s water resources minister, Keshab Mahanta said the army and paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the state for rescue and relief operations and makeshift shelter camps have been set up.
In Bangladesh, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) said all major rivers ‘are in rising trend’ except the Surma in southeastern Sylhet region. The Centre’s spokesman said the rivers – Meghna, Brahmaputra, and Ganges covering the northeastern, northern and northwestern and central Bangladesh are on the verge of surpassing their bank lines at different places. He said the rising trend of rivers in Brahmaputra and Meghna basins including the Dharla, Kangsha, Surma and Kushiyara appeared rapid which were likely to submerge floodplains in greater Sylhet and greater Rangpur in the next 24 hours. The Bangladeshi state minister for disaster management and relief, Dr Enamur Rahman said they have supplied the affected districts with 500 tonnes of rice and 4,000 relief packs including edible oil, noodles, chira, sugar, flour, salt, candles and matchboxes etc.
View More:NCMC reviews flood situation in Kerala
Nepal’s mountainous Kathmandu Valley, Terai region are also flooded. Images on social media show residents trapped in their houses, and sheltering on rooftops. The death toll in Nepal is 64 and 31 people are missing. The deaths have been attributed to landslides that swept away houses. Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs said about 16,520 households have been displaced and rescue teams are evacuating residents and helping children and elderly to higher grounds. According to the Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Bara district, Nepal’s southern border, received more than 400 millimeters of rain in the past few days. Western areas are expected to receive up to 250 millimeters in the next 48 hours.
Every year, the Monsoon rains bring with it relief and havoc. The governments and authorities have to be well prepared with policies in place to lighten the impact.