Tue, 07 Apr 2020

Monsoon Rains LeaveDozens Dead Across South Asia

Voice of America
15 Jul 2019, 22:05 GMT+10

Reuters contributed to this report.

NEW DELHI - At least eight people were killed when a house collapsed in northern India following heavy monsoon rain, which has left more than 85 dead across South Asia, officials said Monday.

Floods and landslides caused by torrential downpours have killed at least 67 people across Nepal while 30 more are missing, police said.

In overcrowded Rohingya refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh, 10 people have died and thousands of shanty homes have been destroyed since April.

In Myanmar, days of heavy monsoon rain and dangerously high river levels have forced more than 18,000 people from their homes and flooded at least one camp for people displaced by recent fighting, authorities and a politician said Monday.

Four towns along the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers were in danger of being inundated as the rivers rose, the Department of Disaster Management said.

"We are working together with local authorities helping the people and providing food," said the department's director, Phyu Lai Lai Htun.

More people were expected to be forced from their homes Monday, she said.

Monsoon season

Heavy downpours hit the tropical Southeast Asian country during the May-October rainy season, often triggering flooding.

The northern state of Kachin was the worst affected, with 14,000 people forced from their homes near the banks of the Ayeyarwady river.

Media published photographs showing submerged houses, vehicles and roads in Myitkyina, the state's capital.

Flooding also forced 3,000 people in the western Rakhine state to relocate, the disaster management department said.

Rain brings down building

In India's latest monsoon-related tragedy, a four-story building on a hillside in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh collapsed, killing eight people and trapping at least seven others.

The structure, located near popular tourist destination Shimla, came down Sunday following days of heavy downpours.

Rescue workers searched the rubble for survivors, while heavy machinery removed heaps of mangled steel and wires from the muddied debris.

Local official K.C. Chaman said eight people had died in the collapse, adding that rescuers were looking "for at least seven other people" trapped in the debris.

One soldier, who was pulled alive from the rubble, said they had gathered for a party in the building's restaurant, "but suddenly the building shook and collapsed."

Such incidents are common across the region during the monsoon because of dilapidated structures that buckle under the weight of continuous rain.

Floods have devastated much of the northeastern Indian state of Assam where four people died Sunday after being swept away by sudden torrents.

The state's Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO-recognized reserve and home to two-thirds of the world's one-horned rhinos, has also been seriously affected by the weather.

The downpours have eased in Nepal, but authorities still fear the death toll could rise, said police spokesman Bishwaraj Pokharel, who gave the latest number of dead and missing from floods and landslides.

"There are the challenges of resettlement of the displaced as many houses have been swept away. We are also cautious about the risk of epidemics due to polluted water," Pokharel told AFP.

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