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Floods in South Asia: millions of people in India and Bangladesh affected by torrential rains in the region

South Asian countries, home to more than 1.3 billion people, have been particularly hard hit by the rains, causing some of the worst flooding in the region in years, as extreme weather events become increasingly more frequent due to the climate crisis.

In India, at least 48 people have died since June 14, after heavy rains battered the northeastern state of Assam, according to its disaster management authority, triggering landslides. land and causing river banks to swell. More than 5.5 million people have been affected in the state alone, the authority added.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday visited one of 1,687 relief camps, housing more than 260,000 displaced people in the state.

“Our government will soon launch a portal for those affected to register their livestock losses and other floodwater damage,” he said. wrote on Twitter. “A flood relief package will also be announced shortly.”

In the neighboring state of Meghalaya, at least 25 people have died since June 9, 11 are still missing and 22 others injured, according to state officials.

Video shown on local television showed residents of affected towns wading waist-deep in muddy water and streets turned into rivers, with vehicles submerged under water.

Flood-affected people queue in knee-deep floodwaters to collect food relief following heavy monsoon rains in Sunamganj district, Bangladesh, June 21, 2022.

In neighboring Bangladesh, flood-related incidents including electrocutions and landslides have killed at least 22 people, officials said.

According to UNICEF, as many as 4 million people, including 1.6 million children, have been stranded by the flash floods.

“Children need clean water right now. Prevention of deadly water-borne diseases is one of the main concerns,” Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh, said in a statement on Monday.

The downpour caused catastrophic flooding in the northeastern region of Sylhet, local officials said.

“The floods are the worst in 122 years in the Sylhet region,” Atiqul Haque, director general of Bangladesh’s Department of Disaster Management, told Reuters on Monday.

An aerial view of a flooded area following heavy monsoon rains in Companiganj, Bangladesh on June 20, 2022.

Health facilities were flooded in Sylhet, while children were at increased risk of drowning, according to UNICEF.

More than 36,000 children sought refuge in overcrowded shelters, along with their families, UNICEF said.

Schools were forced to close and exams were cancelled, further impacting their education after months of closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

Extreme weather events in South Asia are becoming more frequent due to the climate crisis, with temperatures in parts of India and Pakistan reaching record highs during a heat wave in April and May. Scientists said the climate crisis had made the possibility of a record heat wave hitting India and Pakistan “100 times more likely”.
A 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said they had medium confidence that heat waves and wet stress would become more “intense and frequent” and that “annual rainfall and summer monsoon seasons will increase”.

CNN’s Esha Mitra contributed reporting.

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