DHACA, Bangladesh (AP) — At least 18 people have died as floods hit northeastern India and Bangladesh, leaving millions of homes under water, authorities said Saturday.
In India’s Assam state, at least nine people have died due to flooding and some two million houses have been submerged, according to the state disaster management agency.
In addition, lightning in parts of Bangladesh killed nine people on Friday.
Both countries have asked the military to help with severe flooding, which could worsen as the rains are expected to continue through the weekend.
The Brahmaputra River, one of the largest in Asia, has burst its mud dams and flooded 3,000 villages and farmlands in 28 of Assam’s 33 districts.
“We expect moderate to heavy rain in various parts of Assam until Sunday. The volume of rain is unprecedented,” said Sanjay O’Neil, an official at the meteorological station in Gauhati, the capital of Assam.
Several train services were canceled in India. In the city of Haflong in southern Assam, the railway station was under water and overflowing rivers deposited mud and sediment along the railway tracks.
In Bangladesh, the districts close to the Indian border are the most affected.
Water levels in all the country’s major rivers continued to rise, according to the forecast center in Dhaka, the country’s capital. The country has about 130 rivers.
The center said the flood situation is likely to deteriorate in the hardest-hit districts of Sunamganj and Sylhet in the northeastern region, as well as in Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Rangpur districts in northern Bangladesh.
Flight operations at Osmani International Airport in Sylhet were suspended for three days as floodwaters almost reached the runway, according to Hafiz Ahmed, the airport manager.
Bangladesh, a nation of 160 million people, is low-lying and faces natural disaster threats related to climate change. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 17% of people in Bangladesh will have to be relocated over the next decade if global warming continues at current rates.
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