Half a Million Left Homeless as Devastating Floods Hit Bangladesh

Flooding during Bangladesh's yearly summer monsoon season has forced 500,000 residents into homelessness and caused scores more to lose their crops. Streets throughout the northern area of the country have reportedly been swept away.

The Wall Street Journal reports that heavy rainfall in India has resulted in huge numbers of the densely-populated country's population being left without access to safe shelter.

Via the WSJ:

Experts at the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center in Dhaka said two of Bangladesh's main rivers, the Meghna and the Brahmaputra, continue to rise, leaving people in 14 of Bangladesh's 64 districts either marooned or forced to seek shelter on higher ground.

"The main rivers continue to flow above danger levels due to heavy rainfall upstream in India," said Sazzad Hossain, an engineer at the flood forecasting center. "We expect the situation to worsen in the next 72 hours."

Government officials say that there have been no deaths so far, and that relief supplies are expected to be sent to stricken areas. The situation, however, remains precarious for many, as flooding is expected to continue into next week.

Many families in the north of the country are without access to clean water and have lost their crops of rice, the main food staple and source of income for people in the area, charities working in the inundated areas said.

Shahin Howlader, a farmer in the northern district of Rangpur said he was sheltering with his family at a local school. "I've lost my home and my rice," he said, speaking by telephone. "My two cows are also missing. I don't know how I'll survive the year."

Seventy percent of Bangladesh's citizens live in rural areas, making them much more susceptible to crop damage by monsoon and flood. The Bangladeshi government claims to be well-prepared in disaster management, though no formal plan has been announced for housing the nearly half a million citizens currently without shelter.

[Image via AP]