Hundreds Killed And Millions Evacuated In Devastating South Asia Floods


More than 100 people were killed in severe flooding in Bangladesh, China and India this week, devastating cities and cropland, and forcing millions to evacuate.

Key Facts

An estimated 500,000 people were affected by the flooding this week in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, where floodwaters broke a 50-year high, forcing 177,600 people to relocate, damaging 1,729 houses and causing over $250 million in losses, according to a Guangdong Department of Emergency Management statement Tuesday, CNN reported.

Floodwaters extended into neighboring Jiangxi and Fujian provinces – where China’s National Meteorological Center said rainfall since early May reached the highest totals since 1961 – affecting another 485,000 people this week, causing an estimated $70.2 million in damages, according to state-run Xinhua News.

In India and Bangladesh, at least 100 people were killed in a series of devastating floods and landslides that displaced over 260,000 people in the Indian state of Assam, and 4 million people in Bangladesh, according to UNICEF.

In response to the flooding, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced Tuesday it will provide $250,000 in “immediate assistance” to the people affected by flooding in northeastern Bangladesh, far short of the $2.5 million UNICEF called for in a statement Monday.

Dramatic videos and images posted on social media showed vehicles – including a fire truck – swept down streets as the floodwaters raged through cities in southeast Asia.

Key Background

Scientists warn that catastrophic flooding events are on the rise, as a result of climate change – which is threatening not only people, but infrastructure and agriculture. Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Indian state of Meghalaya received three times as much rain in the first three weeks of June as it normally would during the entire month, while India’s Assam province received twice as much rain as it normally would. Some level of flooding in South Asia is expected during its monsoon season, which runs from June to September. But the monsoon patterns are both changing and becoming more intense, scientists say. Another flood in China’s Henan province last July killed at least 25 people and forced at least 100,000 people to evacuate, after several days of torrential rain – said to be the heaviest in 1,000 years. China’s worst floods came in 1998, killing 2,000 people and destroying 3 million homes along the Yangtze River.

Crucial Quote

Atiqul Haque, the director of Bangladesh’s Department of Disaster Management, told Reuters on Monday that the department is “making frantic efforts to ensure there is food and drinking water for all the affected people.,”

Big Number

More than 36,000. That’s the number of children who have so far sought refuge in “overcrowded” shelters in Bangladesh, according to UNICEF.

Further Reading

South China floods force tens of thousands to evacuate (AP News)

Hundreds of thousands evacuated as floods ravage southern China (BBC)

Rain-triggered floods in Bangladesh conjure climate warnings (Reuters)