Floods and landslides kill more than 100 people in Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
More than 100 people have died and tens of thousands have been displaced after torrential monsoon rains triggered floods and landslides across Nepal and parts of South Asia. At least 69 people have died in Nepal, with a further 31 people identified as missing and more than 2 500 rescued, the country's Ministry of Home Affairs said on Monday, 15 July 2019. Search and rescue efforts have been stepped up, with multiple federal agencies, the Nepalese Army, and paramilitary forces mobilised. Two million people have been directly affected by flooding in the country, according to police officials in Nepal.
In neighbouring India, 24 people have died on the northeastern state of Bihar, which lies on the India-Nepal border. The death toll there is "bound to increase," said Pratyaya Amrit, a senior official at the Bihar Disaster Management Department, as flood waters retreat and reveal the true extent of the damage. More than 2,5 million people have been directly affected in Bihar, the statement added. In India's far northeastern Assam State, more than 2,7 million people have been directly affected by floods, according to the Assam Disaster Management Authority.
In Bangladesh, which borders India, 40 000 people in rural low-lying areas have been directly affected by the floods, and 16 people have died due to lightning strikes across the country since Saturday, according to Enamur Rahman, the Bangladeshi State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief. Rahman added that they are bracing for the worst as many of India's rivers flow into Bangladesh, so continuous rains could bring the flooding across the border.
Images on social media of the region's worst-hit areas, including Nepal's mountainous Kathmandu Valley and the lowland Terai region on the southern border next to India, show roads and cars submerged in muddy water. Some residents appear trapped in their homes, sheltering on rooftops as floodwater washes past their doorsteps. Those who do attempt escape carry bundles of belongings on their heads as they wade through chest-deep water.
Already, 16 520 households in Nepal have been displaced, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Rescue teams continue to evacuate residents, pushing inflatable dinghies through flooded streets and helping children and the elderly to safer areas.
The monsoon rains began on Thursday, 11 July 2019, inundating low-lying towns and villages, with tens of thousands evacuated after major rivers swelled to dangerous levels, according to the Nepalese Ministry of Home Affairs.
Regions of Nepal on the southern border, like the Bara District, have seen more than 400 millimetres (15,75 inches) of rain in the past few days, according to satellite estimates. The rain is still pouring, with some western areas expected to receive up to 250 millimetres (9,84 inches) in the next 48 hours, said the Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.
The monsoon rains bring both relief and disaster every year, they bring much-needed water to drought-hit regions but the sudden downpours also trigger floods and landslides, especially fatal in areas without sufficient water storage infrastructure.
In 2017, Nepal had some of the heaviest monsoon rain in recent years, with floods killing at least 143 people and damaging nearly 80 000 houses. Another severe monsoon season in 2014 killed over 100 people in Nepal, and displaced more than 17 000 families.
Indian cities also face deadly monsoon floods almost every year. Dozens have died just this month in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, with houses and transport hubs washed away.
At least 23 people, including soldiers, women and children, died after they were swept away in a flash flood caused by torrential rains in the Neelum Valley in Pakistan, whereas dozens were reported to be missing. According to the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), the flood had also destroyed nearly 150 houses, multiple shops and two mosques and the locals have been directed to move to safer areas. The SDMA, while confirming the death toll, also said that it was expected to rise.
According to the authority, 10 Islamic missionaries from the Tablighi Jamaat, four of whom were from Lahore, five from Faisalabad and one from Sheikhupura were among the dead. The authority also confirmed that five people, including a little girl, had died after a touring jeep fell into River Neelum, however, one person had survived the accident, who was shifted to the hospital in critical condition.
The SDMA officials also asked the people to coordinate with the emergency control room which had been established in Muzaffarabad to facilitate the rescue operation.
The district administration had also launched an operation to rescue the flood victims who were stranded in their homes. Teams of officials from district administration, disaster management authority and local police were despatched for the rescue operations.
In a statement shared by the Inter-Services Public Relations, the Pakistan Army has rescued at least 52 stranded individuals.
The military troops are assisting the civil administration in the ongoing rescue and relief operations launched following a landslide near Laswa village and flash floods in Neelum Jhelum River at Nauseri, Danni. The army has established several relief camps with relief efforts, including provision of food, rations and medical care, continued into the evening. The military troops are assisting civil administration in the ongoing rescue and relief operations launched following landslide near Laswa village and flash floods in Neelum Jhelum River at Nauseri, Danni, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The communication system in the area had been seriously disrupted while internet services had been suspended completely.
Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had said that rain-thundershowers, accompanied by gusty winds, were expected at scattered areas of Kashmir, Islamabad, Hazara, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Faisalabad and Lahore divisions while the weather was expected to remain humid in other parts of the country.
Source: CNN and Pakistan Today