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Monsoon Season is Devastating South Asia Right Now

In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, hundreds are dead and millions have fled their homes. And monsoon season is just beginning.

by David Gilbert
Jul 16 2019, 10:54am

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More than 130 people are dead and almost seven million have been displaced by monsoon rains that have devastated parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Authorities in the northern Indian states of Assam and Bihar, which have been worst hit, said they are on a “war footing,” with police and army personnel helping people flee the floods.

In total 29 people have been killed in Assam and neighboring Bihar since the flooding began last weekend.

In Assam, 4.3 million people have been displaced, and in Bihar, a further 2.5 million people have been displaced. All the major rivers in the state are rising and threatening to burst their banks.

India’s National Disaster Response Force has been mobilized to help rescue children and the elderly from affected areas.

To the south, in Mumbai, a building collapsed on Tuesday morning, killing at least two people. Such incidents are common in India during monsoon season, when heavy rains weaken the foundations of structures that are poorly constructed. Mumbai was lashed by heavy rains early this month.

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Last weekend in the northern town of Solan, a three-storey building collapsed in a hilly area after heavy rains. Fourteen people were killed, 13 of whom were soldiers.

In Bangladesh, 29 people have died in the flooding over the last week, including 18 who were struck by lightning. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, including more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees who live in the sprawling Cox’s Bazar refugee camp. In the last week, landslides in the camp have killed two children.

READ: The Midwest needs more than levees to survive its “biblical” floods

In Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, a flash flood left at least 22 people missing and feared dead on Monday, said Pakistan’s minister for disaster management in the disputed territory.

And in Nepal, at least 78 people have been killed, officials said Tuesday, and dozens more remain missing after landslides swept away houses.

While the rains stopped in Nepal on Tuesday, the danger in the region is far from over, with more heavy rain forecast in northern Indian, Bangladesh and Pakistan over the coming days.

READ: 21 dead after Mumbai building collapses during brutal monsoon

Every year, monsoon rains and subsequent flooding and landslides bring death and devastation to the region. But the monsoon season is just beginning and lasts until September, and the death toll is expected to rise in the coming weeks.

Cover: Indian passengers on an auto rickshaw cross a flooded road in Burha Burhi village , east of Gauhati, Assam, India, Monday, July 15, 2019. After causing flooding and landslides in Nepal, three rivers are overflowing in northeastern India and submerging parts of the region, affecting the lives of more than 2 million, officials said Monday. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)