Bangladesh girls killed as floods maroon 70,000
Two schoolgirls drowned, 20 fishermen were missing presumed dead and nearly 70,000 villagers were marooned on Monday as monsoon rains battered southeastern Bangladesh for a third day.Updated: Jun 24, 2003 10:59 IST
Two schoolgirls drowned, 20 fishermen were missing presumed dead and nearly 70,000 villagers were marooned on Monday as monsoon rains battered southeastern Bangladesh for a third day, officials said.
The girls were swept away when trying to cross a hilly pass in Cox's Bazar, 400 km (250 miles) southeast of Dhaka. Flooding has killed five people in the area in three days.
Widespread or localised floods occur almost every year in Bangladesh, which is criss-crossed by hundreds of rivers, many of them flowing from the Himalayas through India. Most rivers in Bangladesh have risen in recent days but they remain below danger levels.
Weather officials said the rains began easing in the southeast on Monday afternoon but they had intensified in the north, where swollen rivers swept away nearly 400 houses in 24 hours.
Vast areas of five districts in the north had been inundated with floodwater flowing down the hills from Assam and West Bengal states in neighbouring India, officials in the north of Bangladesh said.
They said authorities opened floodgates of a barrage on the Teesta river, to ease water pressure, which flooded some villages.
Twenty fishermen, missing since Saturday when four boats capsized in a storm in the Bay of Bengal, had not been found, Cox's Bazar officials said.
"Now we presume they are dead," one said.
Officials said 60,000 people on Hatiya island, 15 km offshore, were still marooned by floods. The high tide during the monsoon stops the rain water draining out to sea.
About 10,000 people were marooned at Dhunat in Bogra district, 230 km (144 miles) north of Dhaka, after the Jamuna river breached a flood protection embankment, an administrative official said.
Weather officials said rains in the southeast would ease further on Tuesday but were expected to continue in the north.
First Published: Jun 24, 2003 10:59 IST