SYLHET – Monsoon storms in Bangladesh have killed at least 25 people and caused devastating floods that have stranded more than four million others, officials said on Saturday.
Floods are a regular threat to millions of people in the lowlands of Bangladesh, but experts say climate change is increasing their frequency, ferocity and unpredictability.
Relentless downpours over the past week have inundated much of the country’s northeast with troops deployed to evacuate homes cut off from nearby communities.
Schools have been turned into emergency shelters to house entire villages that were submerged within hours by suddenly overflowing rivers.
“Early Friday the whole village was under water and we were all stuck,” said Lokman, whose family lives in the village of Companyganj.
“After waiting all day on the roof of our house, a neighbor rescued us with a makeshift boat. My mum said she had never seen such flooding in her life,” the 23-year-old added.
Asma Akter, another woman rescued from the rising waters, said her family had not eaten for two days.
“The water rose so fast that we couldn’t take any of our stuff with us,” she said. “And how can you cook anything when everything is under water?”
Lightning triggered by the storms has killed at least 21 people in the South Asian country since Friday afternoon, police officials confirmed.
Among them are three children aged 12 to 14 who were struck by lightning in the rural town of Nandail on Friday, local police chief Mizanur Rahman said.
Four other people were killed when landslides hit their hillside homes in the port city of Chittagong, police inspector Nurul Islam said.
- Editor / additional report by AFP