Hundreds killed in South Asia flooding

Volunteers are working non-stop alongside local authorities to help communities prepare for worsening floods

Volunteers are working non-stop alongside local authorities to help communities prepare for worsening floods

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding across large areas in South Asia with more than 16 million people affected by monsoon floods in Nepal, Bangladesh and India.

Monsoon flooding across South Asia is rapidly turning into the worst humanitarian crisis to hit the region in more than a decade, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned Friday.

Floods and landslides have claimed more than 250 lives in India, southern Nepal and Bangladesh, while millions of others have been displaced from homes since the start of monsoon season in June, officials said.

Authorities in West Bengal state said the flood waters were receding after a lull in the rains but 52 so far deaths were reported.

Reaz Ahmed, the director general of Bangladesh's Disaster Management Department, said there are rising concerns about food shortages and the spread of disease. "We fear the outbreak of water-borne diseases if clean water is not ensured soon", Mr Ahmed told Reuters.

All the major rivers in the affected areas, including Brahmaputra and Padma, are flowing at above the danger levels.

"With the floods washing away everything. there is not even a trace of our small thatched hut", said Lakshmi Das, a mother of three, living in Kaliabor, Assam.

The Nepalese government, at a meeting with chief secretary Rajendra Kishore in the chair on August 18, chose to accept foreign support and aid to meet the need.

Thousands of people in northern Uttar Pradesh in India, where the authorities sought military help, were also badly affected and many of them still remained marooned. The floods have since killed more than 350 animals, including 24 endangered one-horned rhinoceros, five elephants and a tiger.

"People have lost everything".

In the indian State of Bihar (east), 53 bodies have been discovered so that the water level just begins to drop, said Anirudh Kumar, an official of the emergency services of the State.

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