Saturday July 20, 2019
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Death toll in Bengal rains and floods crosses 50

In Jalpaiguri, West Bengal/ PTI Photo
Saeldah station in Kolkata/PTI Photo
Saeldah station in Kolkata/PTI Photo

Kolkata: The death toll in West Bengal due to heavy rains and floods crossed 50 on Sunday after seven more deaths, including of four children, were reported from various districts.

At least four children were killed and four other people seriously injured after they were struck by lightning in Barasat in North Paraganas district on Sunday, police said.

Buildings with weak structures collapsed in several areas, including in the city, due to overnight downpour.

An elderly man was crushed to death after a portion of his house collapsed here. A two-year-old was killed in Murshidabad district when a wall collapsed. A similar death was reported in Bankura.

The rains triggered flood-like situation, affecting 12 districts, damaging nearly two lakh houses and rendering over a lakh people homeless.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met district officials and postponed her upcoming north Bengal tour.

“Several districts, including North and South 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Burdwan and Howrah, have been affected. Disaster management teams are working on a war footing,” she said.

Banerjee said crops over 2.10 lakh hectares of farmland were destroyed across the state.

“The situation is getting worse with every passing day as more and more areas are getting inundated,” the chief minister said.

“While the entire state administration is working to reach out to the affected, we urge all political parties and NGOs to assist in relief work,” Banerjee said.

After several parts of the city got waterlogged, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation pressed into service over 300 pumps to drain out rainwater.

Meanwhile, the regional Met office has forecast heavy to very heavy rains at a few places in the Gangetic and sub-Himalayan West Bengal till Tuesday.

Fishermen have been warned not to venture out into the sea on the West Bengal coast.



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Heavy Rains, Overflowing Rivers Force 400K People in Bangladesh to Flee from their Homes

At least 30 people have been killed since the floods began last week

People move along a flooded road in Gaibandha, Bangladesh July 18, 2019. VOA

Rain-swollen rivers in Bangladesh broke through at least four embankments, submerging dozens of villages and doubling the number of people fleeing their homes overnight to 400,000 in one of the worst floods in recent years, officials said Friday.

Heavy rains and overflowing rivers have swamped 23 districts in northern and northwestern Bangladesh, officials said. At least 30 people have been killed since the floods began last week.

“The government has opened more than 1,000 temporary shelters but due to deep waters and lack of communications, many people aren’t able to reach them,” Raihana Islam, an official in the flood-afflicted district of Bogra, told Reuters.

Islam said scores of people had instead camped on embankments, railway lines and highways, where traffic has come to a standstill. Aside from concern over crops, authorities are also worried that rising flood waters could take a toll on livestock.

flood, bangladesh
At least 30 people have been killed since the floods began last week. Pixabay

Flooding severe

South Asia receives monsoon rains between June and October that often lead to floods later in the season, but the intensity of the deluge in Bangladesh is uncommon. “The severity of the flood of this year is worse compared to recent years,” Ariful Islam, an executive engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board, said.

The floods worsened after three embankments on the Brahmaputra river, which flows down from the Himalayas, through northeastern India and into Bangladesh, gave way late Thursday, said Mohammad Moniruzzaman, an official in the federal agriculture ministry.

“The onrush of water submerged a vast area along with several dozen villages,” he told Reuters.

Millions displaced in India

In the neighboring Indian state of Assam, floods on the Brahmaputra and its tributaries since last week displaced some 5.8 million people, but the situation has improved with waters receding, a state minister said.

india, bangladesh, floods
Water levels were also coming down in the northern Indian state of Bihar, where floods have killed at least 78 people. VOA

“While some people have started going back to their homes, about 70% continue to remain in makeshift relief camps,” Assam Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta said.

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Water levels were also coming down in the northern Indian state of Bihar, where floods have killed at least 78 people. “We are now taking measures to prevent outbreak of any disease,” Manish Kumar, the emergency officer at Bihar’s worst flood-hit district of Sitamarhi, told Reuters.

Two people died in Sri Lanka and five were missing because of heavy rain that forced hundreds to flee their homes across the island nation, the state-run Disaster Management Center said. The central districts of Nuwara Eliya and Ratnapura were the worst affected. (VOA)