India and Bangladesh: heavy rains, floods and lightning have claimed dozens of lives

Northeast India and northern Bangladesh have been particularly hard hit by severe weather, which has caused some of the worst flooding in the region in years and left some cities cut off.

A lightning strike killed 17 people in the northeastern Indian state of Bihar on Saturday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said.

In the state of Meghalaya, which borders Bangladesh to the south, at least 24 people have died since June 9 and three are missing, according to R. Lingdo, a senior official with the Meghalaya State Disaster Management Authority.

More than 633,000 people have been affected by the floods, Lyngdo added, and the state’s Office of Disaster Management will deliver emergency supplies to certain areas that are cut off from roads.

In the neighboring state of Assam, at least nine people had died and eight were missing as of Sunday evening, according to the state disaster management agency, which operates 1,147 relief camps that house 186,424 displaced people.

In Bangladesh, flooding has flooded roads and highways and isolated entire areas from the rest of the country.

Enamur Rahman, the country’s minister of state for disaster management, told CNN on Sunday that at least two people have died in the floods. However, news agency reports suggest the toll is much higher, with Reuters reporting 25 deaths over the weekend, citing local officials.

The lack of telecommunications services makes it difficult to fully assess the extent of the damage, especially in the hard-hit areas of Sylhet and Sunamganj, Rahman said.

He added that on Sunday about 90% of Sunamganj was under water and almost completely isolated from the rest of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh news agency Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) reported on Saturday that nearly six million people were displaced by the floods.

Officials said millions of people have been provided with food and shelter in makeshift relief camps.

“We had problems connecting with some areas, but now we are in touch with everyone. Our main problem right now is the lack of drinking water and food, but we (some) are negotiating and trying to bring it by helicopter,” said Muhammad Mosharrof Hossain, a senior official in Bangladesh’s Sylhet district, one of the hardest hit areas.

As of Monday, about 300,000 people are currently in shelters, Hossain said.

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