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Death toll in South Asia monsoon flooding rises to 245

Flood-affected villagers wait for relief material on a broken road washed away by floodwaters in Morigaon district, east of Gauhati, northeastern state of Assam, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
Bystanders look on as floodwaters rage near a house in Kurigram, northern Bangladesh on August 14, 2017. (AFP)
Bangladeshi stand on a raft made of banana tree trunks in an area submerged by flood in Kurigram, northern Bangladesh on August 14, 2017. (AFP)
Flood-affected Indian villagers move on a banana raft to collect drinking water at Murkata village, east of Gauhati, north eastern Assam state, India, on Aug. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
Nepali police officers clean their office area at Tilathi Village in Saptari district, some 450km southeast of Katmandu, on Tuesday. (AFP / Prakash Mathema)
Flood-affected villagers travel by boat in floodwaters in Morigaon district, east of Gauhati, northeastern state of Assam, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
KATMANDU/DHAKA: The death toll in flooding and landslides that devastated parts of northern India, southern Nepal and Bangladesh over the past few days has risen to 245, while millions of others have been displaced, officials said Tuesday.
In Nepal, authorities scrambled to send relief supplies to flood-hit areas where incessant rain has flooded hundreds of villages, killing 110 people.
Security forces helped rescue people marooned on rooftops, while helicopters were distributing food and drinking water packets in the worst-hit southern districts.
With hundreds of thousands of people affected by the floods, the government was focusing on moving in relief supplies as soon as possible, said Ram Krishna Subedi, a home ministry spokesman.
Nepal’s home minister, Janardan Sharma, spent the morning at a relief distribution center at Katmandu’s airport to ensure that the aid was reaching all areas affected by the flooding. Nepal’s government has been under criticism for not being able to reach people desperate for help.
Across Nepal’s southern border, flooding swamped 13 districts in the Indian state of Bihar. Officials said 41 people had been killed, many from drowning, or after being caught in collapsed houses or under toppled trees.
Television pictures showed people wading chest-deep through water carrying belongings and livestock.
“We will now focus more on rescue of those trapped in floods and relief distribution. People have nothing to eat, no clothes. So we have to provide them something to eat and save their lives,” said Nepali police spokesman Pushkar Karki.
Some 200,000 people were temporarily living in the more than 250 relief camps that the government has set up in school and government buildings.
In Bangladesh, at least 18 major rivers were flowing at dangerously high levels, according to the state-run Flood Forecasting and Warning Center.
Over the past two days, 27 people have died in the low-lying delta nation, while another 600,000 are marooned, Bangladesh’s disaster management minister, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury, said. Around 368,000 people have taken refuge in more than 970 makeshift government shelters, he said.
Deadly landslides and flooding are common across South Asia during the summer monsoon season that stretches from June to September.
The situation could get worse as heavy rain in parts of neighboring India flow downstream into the low-lying and densely populated country, they said.
Indian soldiers in boats and helicopters helped distribute food packets, medicine and drinking water to people affected by the floods.
Forty-six people were killed in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday when two buses were buried by a landslide in the Himalayan foothills. Another 21 have died in the remote northeastern state of Assam, where soldiers raced to rescue people marooned on rooftops.
In the northern Indian state of Bihar, national disaster relief force teams have been airlifted in to help with rescue and relief work, the government said.
Media reported that about two million people in the state had been affected, and at least 10 killed. Flooding has also killed at least 15 people in the last two days in Assam state in the northeast.
India’s meteorological department is forecasting more heavy rain into Wednesday.
Monsoon rains, which start in June and continue through September, are a lifeline for farmers in vast parts of rural India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, but they also cause loss of life and property damage every year.

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