Millions affected as Bangladesh experiences worst floods in last two decades

Dozens of people have been killed in monsoon storms across northeastern Bangladesh. Almost six million people in the region remain stranded and are facing an immense scarcity of food, drinking water and shelter as the humanitarian crisis worsens

June 21, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Bangladesh floods
(Photo: Khaleej Times/Twitter)

Bangladesh has been reeling from severe flooding that hit the northeastern part of the country over the past several days. According to reports, the floods are the worst the country has experienced in the last two decades. Dozens of people have already lost their lives in landslides triggered by strong monsoon storms in northeastern Bangladesh. Almost six million people in the region remain stranded and are facing an immense scarcity of food, drinking water, and shelter. With continuous downpour and prediction of more rains, rescue and emergency operations have been intensified in low lying areas across the country.

“At least four to five million people are surrounded by torrential water and the situation is very grim overall. The water level is getting higher. Students groups and locals are mostly occupied in the relief operation. Sylhet and Sunamgonj are the two districts that are worst affected. People are suffering in many ways especially because of the lack of food and shelter,” Nasir Uddin Prince of Bangladesh’s Socialist Students’ Front told Peoples Dispatch.

Local reports confirmed that Sunamgonj, located on the banks of the Surma river, has been totally cut-off from the rest of the country, with no electricity and internet connection. 

The head of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre, Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, warned that many of Bangladesh’s rivers have risen to dangerous levels. Bangladesh has around 130 rivers and the water level in major rivers is rising alarmingly. Thousands of affected people have been rescued using small boats amidst heavy downpour in eastern Bangladesh. 

Vast areas in the northeast have been submerged under water for the past several days. The floods have destroyed crops, roads and houses across 25 districts of Bangladesh. In the northeastern city of Sylhet, torrential monsoon rainfall in late May caused massive flooding, affecting tens of thousands and resulting in the death of at least nine persons, local reports stated. 

The authorities have sent troops to provide relief to people stranded in the northeastern region. So far, around 105,000 people have been evacuated from the districts bordering India. Mass displacement and scarcity of food, sanitation and drinking water is giving rise to a grave humanitarian crisis. A large number of families are living in utter despair as their houses have been washed away in the rains. 

Regional officials claim that around 3.1 million have been displaced already and as many as 200,000 people have taken shelter in government-run makeshift accommodation. The rising water level in rivers is keeping the country on the edge. 

The situation in the Indian State of Assam is also grim, with heavy rainfall causing massive devastation. At least 18 people have lost their lives in the floods or landslides and a large number of houses are submerged in water. Operations to rescue people are underway.