At least 59 people have died in lightning strikes and landslides caused by severe monsoon storms in India and Bangladesh.
Lakhs of people are stranded while emergency workers struggle to reach those affected. Forecasters have warned that the floods are likely to intensify in the next few days. Bangladesh government officials described the recent floods as the country’s worst since 2004.
Unseasonal rains over the past week have inundated large parts of the country’s northeastern region, aggravated by runoff caused by heavy rains in the mountains of neighbouring India.
Schools have been turned into temporary shelters, and troops have been deployed to evacuate homes cut off from neighbouring communities as a result of rising waters.
“The whole village went underwater by early Friday, and we all got stranded,” Lokman, whose family lives in Companiganj village in Bangladesh, told AFP news agency.
“After waiting a whole day on the roof of our home, a neighbour rescued us with a makeshift boat. My mother said she has never seen such floods in her entire life,” the 23-year-old added.
In neighbouring India’s Assam state, more than 1.8 million people have been affected by floods after five days of incessant rains.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters that he had directed the district authorities to provide “all necessary assistance and relief” to the people trapped in the floods.
“Our house is submerged in water. I’ve never seen such huge floods in my life,” Husna Begum, a resident of Udiana village in Assam, said.
The 28-year-old has been living with her children in a flimsy plastic tent since Thursday. “There is no drinking water in the camp here. My son has a fever, but I cannot take him to the doctor,” she said.
Ronju Chaudhary, who lives in the same village, described the scale of the flooding. “We are surrounded by water on all sides. There’s water inside our homes, too,” he said.
Seasonal monsoon rains represent a lifeline for farmers throughout South Asia, but typically cause property damage and destruction every year. Both Bangladesh and India have experienced increasingly extreme weather in recent years.