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Health workers distributing medicines to flood affected people in Assam, India. Health workers distributing medicines to flood affected people in Assam, India.  (ANSA)

UN: monsoon floods hit more than 25 million people in S. Asia

Parts of India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar are severely hit by floods caused by monsoon rains.

By Robin Gomes

More than 25 million people are hit by flooding due to the torrential monsoon rains in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar, with more than half a million people displaced, according to humanitarian groups collaborating with United Nations agencies.

Parts of northern India are reeling under the onslaught of the monsoon rains that are submerging vast areas.

Floods in Assam and Bihar states claimed the lives of 198 people lives on Thursday, and affected the lives of over 11.7 million, local officials say.

In Assam, the death toll climbed to 75,  while the water level rose in seven districts of the state.  The Assam State Disaster Management (ASDMA) reported that nearly 3.4 million people in 18 districts are affected by the deluge.

The floods are also taking a toll on the state’s wildlife, especially at the Kaziranga National Park famed for his its one-horned rhinoceros. 

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall was also recorded across several districts of Bihar in the last 24 hours, worsening the flood scenario in the state.  Seventeen lives were lost, bringing the death toll in the current floods to 123.    

The Bihar Disaster Management Department said some 8.2 million people in 13 districts were affected by the flood, and relief and rehabilitation work was going on in full swing.  The state has received 482.6 mm rainfall during this monsoon season.

In Bangladesh, severe flooding after two weeks of heavy monsoon rains has killed more than 100 people, displaced nearly 800,000, and inundated thousands of homes in at least 26 of the low-lying delta nation’s 64 districts.

Authorities estimate some 5 million people are struggling with the impacts of the floods, the worst in two years. The latest death toll as of Friday stood at 104. 

In neighbouring Myanmar, floods hit 8 regions and states recently due to heavy rainfall, forcing over 9,000 households to evacuate to flood shelters, according to the Disaster Management Department.

Nepal's Home Ministry confirmed on Friday that the number of deaths due to the floods and landslides across the Himalayan nation rose to 111.  Some 64 districts affected.

The grim situation in South Asian has also caught the attention of the United Nations.  Earlier on Thursday, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for un secretary-general António Guterres, briefed reporters on the situation in the region.

He said UN partner organizations in the region reported that more than 25 million people have been affected by flooding due to the torrential monsoon rains in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar, with more than half a million people displaced.

At least 600 people have reportedly been killed in monsoon-related incidents.

In Bangladesh, he pointed out, more than 4 million people have been affected, and the UN is helping to assess needs to determine the necessary response and is also supporting the Government in the areas of water and sanitation, as well as health.

In Myanmar, waters in some areas have receded, allowing some of those who had been uprooted to return home, but over 40,000 people remain displaced.

Haq said that governments in all four countries were leading the response with support from the UN, aid agencies and the private sector. 

26 July 2019, 14:58