Flooding and mudslides triggered by pounding monsoon rains have sent nearly four million people in Nepal and India’s northeast regions fleeing for their lives. Nearly 200 have been killed so far with many more missing, and the level of threat remains high.
“The flood situation remains critical, with most of the rivers flowing menacingly above the danger mark,” said Keshab Mahanta, the water resource minister for India’s northeast state of Assam.
Officials say the massive Brahmaputra River, which flows from the highlands of Tibet to the Bay of Bengal, is proving particularly lethal, damaging crops, triggering mudslides, and sending millions fleeing their homes and livelihoods. In the state of Assam alone, more than 2.75 million “have been displaced by three waves of floods since late May that have claimed 79 lives,” writes Reuters.
The heavy rains are battering Assam even as it struggles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Of the state’s 33 districts, 25 are still affected by flooding.
Nepal is being likewise assailed by a torrential monsoon season, with more than 100 dead since June in landslides or flood waters, and hundreds more injured, displaced, or missing across a third of the country’s districts.
Nepalese home ministry official Murari Wasti told Reuters that search and rescue teams continue to look for the missing, “but chances of finding them alive are slim.”
Residents throughout the mountainous nation are being urged to remain on alert against more mudslides and flash flooding.