Wednesday 21 August 2019

Millions flee homes, scores dead as monsoon rains strike

Rescuers of India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) look for survivors after a three-story building collapsed in monsoon rains near the town of Solan, a hilly area 310 kilometers (195 miles) north of New Delhi. Photo: AP Photo
Rescuers of India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) look for survivors after a three-story building collapsed in monsoon rains near the town of Solan, a hilly area 310 kilometers (195 miles) north of New Delhi. Photo: AP Photo

Gopal Sharma

Floods have forced more than three million people from their homes across north and north-east India as the death toll in neighbouring Nepal and low-lying Bangladesh rose to 76 after days of heavy monsoon rains.

Worst affected is the northern Indian state of Bihar, where some 1.9 million people have fled their homes due to rising waters.

Television showed roads and railway lines in Bihar submerged, with people wading through chest-high, brown churning waters, carrying belongings on their heads.

An impoverished agrarian province with rickety infrastructure and poor healthcare services, Bihar has a history of flooding in its northern areas bordering Nepal.

Landslides

More than 1.7 million people in Assam have been displaced by the floods and most of the Kaziranga National Park, home to the rare one-horned rhino, was also under water.

Known for its tea industry, Assam is often inundated by seasonal flooding, and state and federal governments have spent millions of rupees on flood control.

India's weather office yesterday forecast widespread rains across Assam and Bihar for the next two days.

In neighbouring Nepal, 64 people were killed and 31 were missing, with around a third of all districts hit by heavy rains. Many of the deaths were caused by landslides that swept away houses.

The annual monsoon season also hit Bangladesh hard, forcing an estimated 190,000 people out of their homes, government officials said.

In the Cox's Bazar district, shelter to 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, more than 100,000 people have been displaced. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News