Home » World News » Rainfalls bring death and misery to South Asia

Rainfalls bring death and misery to South Asia

Friday, September 1st, 2017 | World News

The annual rains in South Asia this time bring suffering to an extent, which for a long time no longer existed. More than 1,700 people have died in the monsoon season. While the world looks to Texas, the most defenseless inhabitants of a poor region lose everything.

What was once a street is now a river. House roofs protrude from the water. A boat with a homeless family on board glides by. This scene could take place in Houston. The roofs are made of straw, the boat is a canoe and not a motor boat – this is South Asia. More than 1,700 people have been killed in floods this summer. There is a monsoon season every year, but this time it is particularly devastating. And this corner of the world is much poorer than the US to cope with the consequences.

Village residents are living in Bihar (India) in their flooded and destroyed house. (Source: dpa)

"We were awakened in the middle of the night when a nearby river flooded," says the peasant Lekhnarth Khatri from mid-August in the Nepalese village of Jhapa on the Indian border. Most of the inhabitants had come to safety in a high school. It took two days for helpers to bring rice and cooking utensils. "More than 200 children, women and old people had nothing to eat for two days."

Worst floods in decades
Nothing came from the government, Khatri says. "We've lost all our travels, and we do not know how to get round without any help." They would have to cope with the damage they had caused. "Our house has become uninhabitable, mud is everywhere," says the 32-year-old. Clothes and linens are now useless. Above all, the village is still largely isolated from the outside world. "Our children can not go to school because the floods have swept away the streets."

Several people go in Mumbai (India) over a flooded street. (Source: dpa)

Parts of South Asia are experiencing the worst flooding in decades, according to the Red Cross. This weighs all the more heavily, considering that in the monsoon season every year June to September floods and landslides with hundreds of dead are. More than 41 million people in India, Nepal and Bangladesh are currently affected, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies shares. Some villages are still completely cut off from the outside world.

"Protected people"
The authorities have had no emergency plan, says the Nepali water management expert Madhukar Upadhya in Kathmandu. "The extent may be different this time, but this is an annually recurring event," he says. There is also a lack of funds, such as boats, to save stranded ships. "The disaster has hit the most vulnerable people, the consequences will be sickness, poverty and food shortages, and it will soon disappear from the news, and then we are back in the beginning."

A man wades in Mumbai (India) over a flooded street. (Source: dpa)

In Bangladesh, according to official data, about 700,000 houses have been damaged since the second week of August, and a tenth of them have been completely destroyed – as much as 800,000 hectares of cultivated land. The rivers had not been able to keep the water masses flowing from the Himalayas, for example, because they had been sown and not excavated in the last decades, says Abu Moniruzzaman Khan of the UN Development Fund in Bangladesh. As a result, the country has experienced no more than terrible floods since 1988, when more than 1,600 people have died.

In mid-August, a third of Nepal and Bangladesh were under water. Meanwhile the levels there have fallen. Gradually relief supplies reach the villages, and the governments also announce financial aid. Nevertheless, many people have lost all their belongings and livelihoods. And now they have to worry about the possible spread of disease.

A dead tiger lies in the flooded Kaziranga National Park in Assam (India). (Source: dpa)

The overwhelming majority of victims have to complain about India. The country has counted more than 1300 deaths since the beginning of the monsoon – with 514 most of them in the state of Bihar. It has hit some of the poorest people in India, as reported by Hanna Butler of the Red Cross, who a few days ago distributed relief supplies in local villages. "The people did not have much from the beginning, but when a flood takes away everything one has, it is crushing."

Butler is now in the state of Manipur, on the border with Myanmar. "It looks like a tsunami is swept through here," she says. Up to 20,000 of the approximately 2.7 million inhabitants had become homeless. Many would expect to live in tents for the foreseeable future. The people here are accustomed to monsoon rain. "The violence this year surprised her."


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