Dramatic situation in parts of India and Bangladesh after unprecedented rainfall

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Millions of homes are underwater in North-eastern India and Bangladesh after floods and lanslides. Floods submerged railway tracks, bridges and roads.The volume of rainfall has been unprecedented. Authorities on Saturday announced at least 59 people died. Lightning strikes triggered by the storms had killed at least 21 people in Bangladesh, including three children aged 12 to 14, since Friday afternoon. Both countries have asked the military to help, as rains were expected to continue. “We are using speedboats and inflatable rafts to rescue flood-hit people,” an army official said.Nearly 7,500 people had been rescued in Assam by mid-afternoon Saturday. Several train services were cancelled in India. In Bangladesh, districts near the Indian border have been worst affected. Levels in all major rivers across the country were rising.

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The flood situation was likely to deteriorate in the worst-hit Sunamganj and Sylhet districts in the north-eastern region as well as in Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Rangpur districts in northern Bangladesh. Nearly 600 schools and colleges have been turned into relief shelters to house entire villages. Flight operations at the Osmani international airport in Sylhet have been suspended for three days. Floods are a regular menace to millions of people in Bangladesh. Climate scientists have said that India and Bangladesh are particularly vulnerable to climate change because of their proximity to the warm tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.