Death toll crosses 800 in South Asia floods


Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 22 August 2017| 29 Zhul Qadha 1438

More than 800 people have died in floods across South Asia, officials said on Monday, with monsoon rains also causing the deaths of hundreds of animals, including rhinos and a tiger in India’s Kaziranga sanctuary.

Widespread floods have also displaced over a million in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Aid workers warn of severe food shortages and water-borne diseases as rains continue to lash the affected areas.

Seasonal monsoon rains, a lifeline for farmers across South Asia, typically cause loss of life and property every year between July and September, but officials say this year’s flooding is the worst in several years.

At least 115 people have died and more than 5.7 million are affected in Bangladesh as floods submerged more than a third of the low-lying and densely populated country.

“The water level has gradually dropped,” Sazzad Hossain, executive engineer of Bangladesh’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre, said. “The flood situation will improve if it does not rain upstream any further.”

Bangladeshi officials say there are rising concerns about food shortages and the spread of disease.

In the Indian state of Assam bordering Bangladesh, at least 180 people have been killed in the past few weeks.

“There is not even a trace of our small thatched hut,” said Lakshmi Das, a mother of three, living in Kaliabor, Assam.

“We do not even have a second pair of clothes to wear. The government is not providing any aid.”

Torrential rains have also hit the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur, killing at least 30 people.

Floods hit wildlife sanctuary
Flood waters of the Brahmaputra river had earlier in July submerged the Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary in Assam. The floods have since killed more than 350 animals, including 24 endangered one-horned rhinoceros, five elephants and a tiger.

“We are facing a wildlife disaster,” Assam Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said.

“Our teams have recovered 225 dead animals since August 12. Of those, 15 were rhinos,” Kaziranga director Satyendra Singh told Agence France-Presse news agency.

“A Bengal tiger also died in a fight with a herd of elephants. He was left injured and later could not walk or swim. It is possible that due to floods, there was a space crunch and it led to a territorial conflict.”

Nearly 200 deer, four elephant calves, four wild boars, two water buffaloes and one porcupine were among the other animals found dead in Kaziranga, which is still 20 percent under water, said Singh.

Conservationists worry that poachers, hunting for lucrative rhino horn, will try and capitalise on the exodus of wildlife from the protection of the jungle.

Massive destruction
In the eastern state of Bihar, at least 253 people lost their lives. Incessant rains have washed away crops, destroyed roads and disrupted power supplies.

A senior official in Bihar’s disaster management department, Anirudh Kumar, said nearly half a million people have been provided with shelter.

In Nepal, 141 people were confirmed dead, while thousands of survivors returned to their semi-destroyed homes.

“Their homes are in a state of total destruction,” said Francis Markus from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Source – Trt World