A file picture shows rickshaw pullers riding their rickshaws during rain in Dhaka, Bangladesh. EFE/EPA/FILE/MONIRUL ALAM

At least 19 dead, million affected as flood hits southern Bangladesh

Dhaka, Aug 9 (EFE).- At least 19 people, including three Rohingyas, died, and over a million people were affected as flash floods hit Bangladesh’s southern Chittagong region, officials said Wednesday.

Authorities have set up 2,234 shelters in five districts of Chittagong and launched rescue operations after heavy rains, accompanied by an onrush of water from rivers in India and Myanmar, left large parts submerged.

The flood affected 10,57,458 people and triggered at least 319 landslides in the division, home to around 30 million people, Chittagong Divisional Commissioner’s office spokesperson Nilufa Yasmin told EFE.

“The situation has slightly improved today, but many areas are still under water,” said Yasmin.

She said nine deaths have been recorded in Cox’s Bazar district, six in Chittagong, and another four in Bandaban districts since August 4, when the rain started battering these areas.

She added that five people remained missing and six were injured due to the flood situation.

Among those dead were two Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and one in Bandarban, local officials confirmed to EFE.

Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mizanur Rahman said they have relocated around 2,000 refugees to safer places after rain triggered some landslides in the refugee camps.

“Rain caused some 100 landslides in the camp areas. Two refugees died in one such incident on Monday. We relocated the refugees who appeared vulnerable,” Rahman told EFE.

Cox’s Bazar houses most of the 774,000 Rohingyas that have fled Myanmar due to military violence since August 2017.

Bandarban’s deputy commissioner Shah Mujahid Uddin confirmed the death of one Rohingya who came to the area in search of work.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said on Tuesday that flash floods in Bangladesh had displaced over 15,000 Rohingya refugees and 300,000 local residents in Cox’s Bazar.

The fragile infrastructure of the refugee camps has been severely damaged, with over 2,000 shelters destroyed, including health centers and community centers that are vital to the refugees’ wellbeing, according to a statement by the IRC.

Local media reported that floods destroyed standing crops and fish enclosures in many areas while disrupting road communication and electric supply, leaving many people to suffer.

Hundreds of tourists were left stranded in Cox’s Bazar after flood water submerged roads in many areas, cutting it off from Chittagong and Bandarban.

Cox’s Bazar administration chief Shahin Imran told EFE that road communication between Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong was likely to be restored on Wednesday.

“We have had over 200mm of rain here in two days, which has flooded many areas. The situation was really bad on Tuesday, but today it started improving. Road communication with Chittagong could also be resumed today,” he said.

Located in the Ganges delta at near sea level and with a fifth of its territory covered by rivers or their tributaries, Bangladesh is prone to frequent floods during the monsoon season between June and September. EFE