Bangladesh-India flooding claims hundreds of thousands of homes submerged

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Bangladesh-India flooding claims hundreds of thousands of homes submerged

Hundreds of thousands of homes near the Bangladesh-India border are underwater, and in the worst-hit areas whole neighborhoods have been submerged, aid agencies said Tuesday.

The floods began in April, and there have been 207 deaths in both countries, according to official figures.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies IFRC, some 94% of Bangladesh's Sunamganj town and 84% of the surrounding Sylhet district have been submerged due to the torturous rain, according to the IFRC. The roads leading to the region have been largely cut off and there are power cuts even in areas that are not underwater.

Save the Children said the floods had destroyed homes, schools and livelihoods, damaging at least 93,000 homes and 419 primary schools in Sylhet in May. "We have never seen this kind of flooding in our living memories in that region," said Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society Secretary General. Bangladesh has around 700 rivers, making it particularly vulnerable to flooding during extreme weather events. There are 7.2 million people in Bangladesh that need aid, according to the IFRC. In the eastern Indian state of Assam, which neighbors Bangladesh, flooding has displaced more than 270,000 people, according to authorities. The most rainfall in parts of Meghalaya state has caused large river systems between India and Bangladesh to overflow and inundate surrounding areas. The Bangladesh Red Crescent is spending $10 million on relief and recovery operations. Volunteer teams on the ground have been distributing food and drinking water. The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal to raise another $7.8 million, which it says could help another 300,000 people. Aid agencies say the communities worst affected by flooding tend to be those that are already impoverished.