India flood – 189 killed and FOUR MILLION left homeless as devastating torrents rip through Assam province and Nepal

India flood – 189 killed and FOUR MILLION left homeless as devastating torrents rip through Assam province and Nepal

July 20, 2020

AT LEAST 189 people have been killed and four million left homeless after powerful torrents swept aside homes in Nepal and India’s famous tea-making province of Assam.

Government officials also said that scores of residents remain missing after heavy flooding from monsoon rains.

The overflowing Brahmaputra River, which runs through China’s Tibet, India and Bangladesh, has damaged crops and triggered mudslides, displacing millions, officials said.

More than 2.75million people in Assam alone have been displaced by three waves of floods since late May, that has claimed 79 lives after two more deaths were reported overnight, a state government official said.

“The flood situation remains critical with most of the rivers flowing menacingly above the danger mark,” Assam water resources Minister Keshab Mahanta added.

Rescue teams were facing a double challenge of rising flood waters amid the coronavirus pandemic as villagers driven from their swamped homes huddle in shelters.

“It’s hard to enforce social distancing when people are being ordered to move away from the rising waters,” said Sanghamitra Sanyal, a member of the northeastern state’s flood management force.

“We’re urging people to at least cover their mouth and nose with a piece of clean cloth.”

Out of 33 districts, 25 remained affected after the current wave of flooding, beginning a fortnight ago.

In neighbouring Nepal, the government asked residents along its southern plain to remain alert.

Devastating monsoon rains were expected to pound the Himalayan nation where more than 100 have died in floods and landslides since June, officials said.

Some 110 people were killed and another 100 injured as landslides and flash floods washed or swept away homes, upended roads and bridges and displaced hundreds of others in 26 of the country’s 77 districts, said cops.

Home ministry official Murari Wasti reported that the death toll was expected to rise as 48 people were still missing.

Wasti added: “Search and rescue teams are looking for those who are missing in different places but chances of finding them alive are slim."

Meteorologist Barun Paudel, based in the weather forecasting office in the capital, Kathmandu, said heavy rains were expected to pound much of the mainly mountainous nation in the next four days.

“We have urged residents to remain alert against possible landslides and floods,” he said.

Landslides and flash floods are common in Nepal, India’s Assam and Bihar states during the June-September annual rainy season.

Officials warned that the water level in the Brahmaputra river was expected to rise by 11cm (4.3 inches) two weeks after it burst its banks swamping more than 2,500 villages.

Campaigners accuse corrupt officials of siphoning off funds meant for flood projects, resulting in shoddy construction of embankments which are often breached.

Floods have also inundated the Kaziranga National Park, home to the world’s largest concentration of one-horned rhinoceros, with an estimated 2,500 out of a total population of some 3,000 of the animals.

“Nine rhinos have drowned and over 100 other animals have been killed,” Atul Bora, Assam’s agriculture minister who is Kaziranga’s member of the state parliament, told Reuters.

With the park waist-deep in water, rhinos, elephants and deer have been forced to seek refuge on roads and in human settlements.

India is grappling with the novel coronavirus, which has infected nearly 1.1 million people and 26,816 have died from the COVID-19 disease, government data showed on Sunday.

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