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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

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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.

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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.

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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. 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)

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Ceaseless Rain in Odisha Affects Normal Life

The district collectors of Cuttack, Ganjam, Gajapati, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Puri, Khordha and Jajpur declared holidays in all the schools and Anganwadi centres

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East Coast Railway (ECoR) said incessant Rain and subsequent water-logging on railway tracks affected the train services too. Pixabay

Incessant rain triggered by a well-marked low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal threw normal life out of gear in several parts of Odisha on Thursday.

The regional meteorological centre here issued red, orange and yellow warnings for the coastal and southern districts of the state till October 26.

The state government declared the closure of all schools and Anganwadi centres for two days in eight districts and asked the teachers and staff to remain present at the institutes for an emergency.

The district collectors of Cuttack, Ganjam, Gajapati, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Puri, Khordha and Jajpur declared holidays in all the schools and Anganwadi centres.

East Coast Railway (ECoR) said incessant rain and subsequent water-logging on railway tracks affected the train services too.

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The signalling posts also got affected at many stations due to heavy Rain water flow all night long. (Representational Image). Pixabay

It said many express and passenger trains are running behind schedule while a few trains have been cancelled and rescheduled.

The signalling posts also got affected at many stations due to heavy water flow all night long.

While the Visakhapatnam-Brahmapur train has been cancelled from both directions, the Bhubaneswar- Visakhapatnam Intercity-Express will be terminated at Srikakulum which will run empty up to Visakhapatnam.

The Visakhapatnam to Bhubaneswar Intercity-Express has been cancelled, said ECoR.

However, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Jena said chances of a flood situation in the state are low.

“Over the last 24 hours, the distribution of rainfall has been even across the state so there is less likelihood of any flood situation in the state,” said Jena.

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Incessant Rain triggered by a well-marked low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal threw normal life out of gear in several parts of Odisha. Pixabay

The district collectors have been asked to remain alert to take all possible measures to meet the situation arising out of the heavy rain.

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“A mudslide has been reported from two villages of Badakalakot panchayat in Gumma block of Gajapati district in which 20 houses were destroyed, 80 villagers have been relocated and are being supplied with water and cooked food,” the SRC said. (IANS)