Millions in South Asia await relief after deadly flooding

STORY: More than nine million people in northeastern India and Bangladesh have been left marooned after the heaviest rains in years killed at least 54 people across the region.

Authorities scrambled to provide aid on Monday (20 June) after monsoon rains in low-lying Bangladesh triggered catastrophic flooding.

Officials in the country called the flooding the worst in 122 years, with the northeastern Sylhet administrative division particularly badly hit, leaving a quarter of its 15 million-strong population stranded amid fast-rising waters and swollen rivers.

The situation there has been worsened by waters cascading down from the surrounding hills of India's Meghalaya state, home to some of world's wettest areas on which 38 inches of rain fell on Sunday (June 19), according to government data.

In the Indian state of Assam, life has been severely disrupted.

"Waterlogging has created issues for everyone. No one is able to get out of their homes and they can't go to the office. My shop is filled with water, damaging a lot of the equipment inside."

With millions stranded or in shelters, the challenges facing authorities trying provide aid, including drinking water and medical supplies, have been compounded.

In Assam, where at least 26 people have been killed since heavy rains began around a fortnight ago, flood waters have started receding, authorities said.

The South Asian neighbors have experienced increasing extreme weather in recent years, causing large-scale damage.

Environmentalists warn that climate change could lead to more disasters, especially in densely populated Bangladesh.

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