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Video: second wave of floods hits Bangladesh; almost 2 million are homeless

Intense flooding has left around 1.8 million people stranded in northeastern Bangladesh after weeks of heavy rains that flooded homes and devastated farmland, according to state media and aid agencies.

Images show large swaths of the city of Sylhet and the neighboring city of Sunamganj underwater in the second wave of floods to hit the region in less than a month, state news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) reported on Saturday (21). . See the video:

The widespread flooding was triggered by prolonged torrential rain and water runoff from upstream mountainous regions on the border with India, which caused four rivers to exceed their danger levels, the Water Development Board said last week, according to the local media.

Residents of the worst-affected and low-lying areas of Sylhet were seen wading through chest-deep waters and piling up their belongings to protect them from the muddy waters.

There is concern for those trapped by flood waters, who now face food shortages and a lack of clean water, according to local media.

Around 964,000 people in Sylhet and 792,000 in Sunamganj were affected by the floods and authorities said they had created more than 6,000 shelters to help those displaced, BSS reported.

Among them are 772,000 children who urgently needed assistance, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday (21). More than 800 schools were flooded, with another 500 used as flood shelters, the agency said.

“As waters rise, children are the most vulnerable, facing heightened risks of drowning, malnutrition, deadly waterborne diseases, the trauma of displacement and potential abuse in overcrowded shelters,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF representative in Bangladesh, in a statement.

International development organization BRAC said it is helping to provide emergency food and health support to hundreds of families in Sylhet and Sunamganj. Around 2.25 million people were affected by the flash floods, which left 12,000 people in the region without power.

Khondoker Golam Tawhid, program lead for BRAC’s Disaster Risk Management Programme, said flooding in the country is “becoming more dangerous” with “enormous losses of livelihoods, biodiversity and infrastructure – and disruption to schooling and services of health.”

“Bangladesh is used to flooding, but climate change is making flooding more intense and less predictable, making it impossible for families to stay safe, let alone plan ahead,” Tawhid said.

Meanwhile, fish farmers faced significant losses, with flood waters washing away thousands of farms and fish ponds, resulting in an economic loss reported by local media of more than $11.4 million.

Densely populated, low-lying Bangladesh is prone to seasonal rains, floods and cyclones.

But the South Asian country is one of the most vulnerable in the world to the impacts of the man-made climate crisis, studies show. As extreme weather events become more frequent and severe as a result of the climate crisis, the humanitarian and economic impacts on Bangladesh will continue to deteriorate.

By 2050, an estimated 13 million people in Bangladesh could become climate migrants, and severe flooding could reduce GDP by up to 9%, according to the World Bank.

The latest series of heavy rains and floods came as the region had barely recovered from widespread flooding in late May caused by Tropical Cyclone Remal, which hit Bangladesh and southern India and affected about 5 million people.

“For many, this will change the course of their lives, leaving them without homes and schools and forcing them to move into temporary shelters indefinitely,” said Sultana Begum, Save the Children’s regional humanitarian and policy advocacy manager for Asia, in a statement.

“Everything we are hearing points to these types of extreme weather events getting worse and worse. And we certainly haven’t seen two serious flooding crises happen in such quick succession before. Make no mistake, the climate emergency is already leaving its mark on India and Bangladesh, and it is robbing children of their homes, families, food, water and access to education and healthcare.”

vulnerable Rohingya

Monsoon rains and landslides have also affected southern Bangladesh, where around a million people from the Muslim Rohingya community live in the world’s largest refugee camps after fleeing persecution and violence in neighboring Myanmar.

At least 10 people, including three children, died due to landslides and heavy rains in refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday, according to Bangladesh’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.

“People have been evacuated from low-lying areas and at least 500 people have been moved to other relief centers,” Hasan Sarwar, head of the ministry’s refugee cell, told CNN last week.

Many Rohingya refugees live in bamboo and tarp shelters perched on mountain slopes that are vulnerable to strong winds, rain and landslides.

Save the Children reported that around eight thousand people in 33 camps were impacted by the torrential rains, which destroyed or damaged more than a thousand shelters.

The humanitarian group noted that Bangladesh’s monsoon season has just begun and will last for the next two months, with the potential to bring more heavy rains, landslides and floods.

Landslides, heavy rain and flooding also hit the neighboring Indian state of Assam, affecting more than 4 million people, according to Save the Children.

At least 31 people have died in floods and landslides since May 29 in the state, according to local police and disaster management authorities.

Some immediate relief for northeastern Bangladesh is in sight, however, with rainfall beginning to ease and signs that flood waters are beginning to recede, local media reported.

The Bangladesh Water Development Board said on Saturday (22) that water levels in major rivers in the northeast are falling and the trend could continue in the coming days if there is no more rain.

“General improvements in the flood situation in several low-lying areas in districts in the northeastern part of the country may continue over the next 72 hours,” the statement said.

Source: CNN Brasil

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