Floods ravage parts of Bangladesh, strand over 2 million people

By Reuters
June 22, 2024
People wade through the water as they look for shelter during a flood, amidst heavy rains that caused widespread flooding in the northeastern part of the country, in Sylhet, Bangladesh, June 18, 2022. — Reuters

DHAKA: Monsoon rains and upstream river water from India have caused widespread flooding in northeastern Bangladesh, stranding more than 2 million people, and the situation could worsen, officials said on Friday.


The UN children’s agency Unicef said trapped residents in the region, including more than 772,000 children, were in urgent need of assistance.

“Children are the most vulnerable, facing heightened risks of drowning, malnutrition, deadly waterborne diseases, the trauma of displacement, and potential abuse in overpopulated shelters,” said Sheldon Yett, Unicef Representative to Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department forecast further heavy rainfall in the next few days that could exacerbate the flooding and cause landslides in hilly areas.

At least 10 people, including eight Rohingya Muslims, were killed on Wednesday after heavy monsoon rains triggered landslides in refugee camps in southern Bangladesh.

The northeastern region has been particularly hard hit, with heavy rainfall and upstream water from India causing widespread inundation. Bangladesh is still recovering from a cyclone that hit its coastal belt in the south late last month.

“I fear it could be as devastating as the 2022 floods,” Sylhet resident Shameem Chowdhury said, referring to flooding that was the worst in the region for 122 years.

TV footage showed extensive flooding in fields and villages with people wading through knee-deep water in Sylhet city as the rainfall dangerously swelled water levels along four rivers in the region.