Over 50 killed in India’s northeast, Bangladesh and Pakistan by heavy monsoon rains

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 July, 2016, 7:08pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 July, 2016, 11:34pm

Over 50 people have been killed by heavy rains and flooding South Asia ; 17 in the northeastern Indian state of Assam,14 in Bangladesh and another 21 in Pakistan, with millions of people also displaced, officials said on Saturday.

Persistent heavy rains this week have caused widespread disruption across South Asia, with at least 68 people also killed in Nepal by flash floods and landslides.

Dozens killed, thousands stranded by flash floods in Pakistan

Although rainfall had decreased as of Saturday, officials in Assam, a tea-growing and oil-rich state, added water levels across rivers were still overflowing.

“Overflowing rivers are flooding new areas, making things worse,” said Keshab Mahanta, Assam’s water resource minister.

India’s Interior Minister Rajnath Singh was due to visit Assam on Saturday and make an aerial survey and hold discussions with state officials about relief efforts.

Authorities in Assam have opened more than 800 temporary shelters and food and medicines distribution centres across the state, a senior official at the state disaster management authority said.

Flooding is an annual problem during the monsoon season in South Asia, but the impact has been worsened by crumbling civic infrastructure, clogged drains and uncontrolled urban expansion.

Separately,21 people were killed on Saturday when a bus carrying wedding guests was washed off a mountainous road by floodwater and flung into a gorge, a Pakistan official said.

“Dead bodies of 14 people had been retrieved, most of those killed and wounded were women and children,” Rahimullah Mehsud, a local government official of Khyber tribal district, where the incident took place, said.

The accident happened when a pick-up truck carrying the groom’s party of more than 20 people was hit by floods in a remote village of Khyber, one of Pakistan’s seven tribal districts bordering Afghanistan.

Mehsud said a search was ongoing for the missing but rescue workers and residents were facing difficulties as the “area is remote and mountainous”.

He added: “We have no exact number of those travelling in the Datsun pick-up but residents told us there were more than 20.”

The heavy monsoon rains began earlier this month, drenching the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and central Punjab provinces, which have been badly affected by flooding in recent years that some scientists have linked to climate change.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse