Army troops were called in to rescue thousands of people stranded by massive floods that have ravaged northeastern India and Bangladesh, leaving millions of homes underwater and severing transport links, authorities said Saturday.
In India’s Assam state, at least nine people were killed in the floods and 2 million saw their homes submerged, according to the state disaster management agency. Lightning strikes in parts of neighboring Bangladesh have left at least nine dead since Friday.
Both countries have asked their militaries for help as more flooding looms with rains expected to continue over the weekend.
In Sylhet in northeastern Bangladesh, on the banks of the Surma River, children sat on a window of an inundated house while other family members gathered on a bed inside their flooded home, some wondering how to make it through the ordeal.
“How can we eat (in this condition)?” said Anjuman Ara Begum, standing in the water inside her kitchen. “We are living on muri (puffed rice) and chira (flattened rice) and other things given by people. What else can we do? We can’t cook.”
Flights at Osmani International Airport in Sylhet were suspended for three days as floodwaters almost reached the runway, according to Hafiz Ahmed, the airport manager. The Sylhet Sunamganj highway also was flooded but motorbikes were moving along.
Water levels in all major rivers across the country were rising, according to the flood forecasting and warning center in Dhaka, the capital. The country has about 130 rivers.
The center said the flood situation is likely to deteriorate in the worst-hit Sunamganj and Sylhet districts in the northeastern region as well as in Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Rangpur districts in northern Bangladesh.
The Brahmaputra, one of Asia’s largest rivers, breached its mud embankments, inundating 3,000 villages and croplands in 28 of Assam’s 33 districts across the border in India. JULHAS ALAM & WASBIR HUSSAIN, DHAKA, MDT/AP