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Third of Bangladesh underwater as monsoon drenches region

Third of Bangladesh underwater as monsoon drenches region

AFP
Biswambharpur
Almost four million people have been hit by monsoon floods in South Asia, officials said Tuesday, with a third of Bangladesh already underwater from some of the heaviest rains in a decade.
The monsoon -- which usually falls from June to September -- is crucial to the economy of the Indian sub-continent, but also causes widespread death and destruction across the region each year.
“This is going to be the worst flood in a decade,” Bangladesh’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre chief Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan told AFP.
The heavy rains have swollen two main Himalayan river systems -- the Brahmaputra and the Ganges -- that flow through India and Bangladesh.
Bhuiyan said about a third of flood-prone Bangladesh was underwater, and at least 1.5 million people were affected, with village homes and roads flooded.
In north-central Bangladesh, the Brahmaputra river was almost 40 centimetres higher than normal and threatening to burst its banks, district administrator Farook Ahmed told AFP.
Most villagers were trying to stay near their flood-damaged homes, but some 15,000 had fled severely affected areas, officials said.
In the northern town of Biswambharpur, villagers said most of the houses were partly underwater after the Surma, a major river in northeast Bangladesh, burst its banks.
In Assam, northeast India, more than 2.1 million people have been affected since mid-May.

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