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Heavy monsoons cause flooding across South Asia

19 July 2019


Villagers walk on a flooded road in Assam, India.Thirty-five have died, and 2.6 million affected, after flooding in the states of Assam and Bihar

Villagers walk on a flooded road in Assam, India.Thirty-five have died, and 2.6 million affected, after flooding in the states of Assam and Bihar

HEAVY monsoon rains have caused flooding across South Asia, affecting millions of people, including Rohingya refugees living in temporary shelters in camps on the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Floods have affected huge areas of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, and more than 130 people are known to have died so far. Rivers have burst their banks and deluged communities, and three million people are thought to have been displaced from their homes. Vast areas of north-east India are under water.

The camps in Cox’s Bazar, which are home to more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled persecution in Myanmar, have suffered mudslides caused by torrential rains. Two children have died from mudslides in camps this week.

CAFOD’s head of region for Asia and the Middle East, Janet Symes, said: “Heavy monsoon rains across India, Nepal, and Bangladesh have caused disastrous floods, affecting millions of lives. These heavy rains have led to landslides and extreme flooding, leaving communities cut off, and facing food and clean water shortages, as well as threats from waterborne diseases. Caritas Bangladesh, our local aid experts responding to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh, is assessing the impact of flooding across the country, including in the Rohingya camp where thousands of refugees have been affected.”

Christian Aid said that minority groups and children had been particularly affected: there was widespread damage and closure to primary schools.

Christian Aid’s emergency programme officer for South Asia, Shivani Rani, said: “Huge numbers of families have been affected — many uprooted and living either in government organised camps or in makeshift shelters. Lack of food, clean water, and sanitation are serious issues here, with many people stuck in their houses in inaccessible villages. Minority communities, including Dalit groups, are the most vulnerable, often unable to access vital food, water, and sanitation.”

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