Floods, Lightning Strikes Kill at Least 18 in India, Bangladesh

And with expected rain over weekend, more flooding looms
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 18, 2022 5:30 AM CDT
18 Dead in Massive Floods in India, Bangladesh
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel rescue flood-affected villagers in Korora village in India on Friday.   (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

(Newser) – At least 18 people have died as massive floods ravaged northeastern India and Bangladesh, leaving millions of homes underwater and severing transport links, authorities said Saturday. In India's Assam state, at least nine people were killed in the floods, and 2 million saw their homes submerged, according to the state disaster management agency. Lightning in parts of neighboring Bangladesh, meanwhile, killed nine people on Friday, per the AP. The Brahmaputra, one of Asia's largest rivers, breached its mud embankments, inundating 3,000 villages and croplands in 28 of Assam's 33 districts. Both countries have asked their militaries for help as more flooding looms with rains expected to continue over the weekend.

"We expect moderate to heavy rainfall in several parts of Assam till Sunday," said Sanjay O'Neil, an official at the meteorological station in Gauhati. "The volume of rainfall has been unprecedented." Several train services were canceled in India amid the incessant downpour over the past five days. In southern Assam's Haflong town, the railway station was underwater, and flooded rivers deposited mud and silt along the rail tracks. India's army has been mobilized to assist disaster response agencies in rescuing stranded people and providing food and other essentials. Soldiers used speedboats and inflatable rafts to navigate through submerged areas.

In Bangladesh, districts near the Indian border have been worst affected. Water levels in all major rivers across the country were rising, according to the flood forecasting and warning center in Dhaka, the capital. The country has about 130 rivers. The center said the flood situation is likely to deteriorate in the worst-hit Sunamganj and Sylhet districts in the northeastern region, as well as in the Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Rangpur districts in northern Bangladesh. Flight operations at Osmani International Airport in Sylhet have been suspended for three days as floodwaters have almost reached the runway, according to Hafiz Ahmed, the airport manager. Last month, a pre-monsoon flash flood hit Bangladesh's northern and northeastern regions. The country was just starting to recover when fresh rains flooded the same areas again this week.

(Read more India stories.)

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