KATHMANDU/DHAKA (Reuters) – Heavy monsoon rains in Nepal, Bangladesh and India have killed more than 160 people in the last week, officials said on Tuesday, as authorities rushed to rescue those missing or stranded in flooded areas.
In Nepal, the death toll rose to 115 amid more flash floods and landslides, with 38 people missing. Relief workers said 26 of Nepal’s 75 districts were either submerged or had been hit by landslides after rain lashed the Himalayan nation.
Television pictures showed people wading chest-deep through water carrying belongings and livestock.
“We will now focus more on rescue of those trapped in floods and relief distribution. People have nothing to eat, no clothes. So we have to provide them something to eat and save their lives,” said Nepali police spokesman Pushkar Karki.
Floods in north Bangladesh have killed at least 27 people in the last few days and affected more than 500,000, many of them fleeing their homes to shelter in camps, officials said.
The situation could get worse as heavy rain in parts of neighboring India flow downstream into the low-lying and densely populated country, they said.
In the northern Indian state of Bihar, national disaster relief force teams have been airlifted in to help with rescue and relief work, the government said.
Media reported that about two million people in the state had been affected, and at least 10 killed. Flooding has also killed at least 15 people in the last two days in Assam state in the northeast.
India’s meteorological department is forecasting more heavy rain into Wednesday.
Monsoon rains, which start in June and continue through September, are a lifeline for farmers in vast parts of rural India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, but they also cause loss of life and property damage every year.
Writing by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Tom Lasseter, Robert Birsel