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Floods devastate ag in Nepal, India and Bangladesh

Monsoons in Nepal, India and Bangladesh have caused flooding in the middle of August. According to Reuters, at least 800 deaths have been reported as a direct result of the natural disaster with 115 of those deaths in Bangladesh, 143 in Nepal, and the remaining victims, 550, in India. Around 24 million people are said to have been affected by the flooding in all three countries. A lot of agricultural land has been hit, but the full extent of the damage is still unknown. What is known so far is that more than a third of the land in Bangladesh and Nepal is underwater.

“This is the worst flooding that parts of South Asia have seen in decades. Entire communities have been cut off. The only way to get aid to some of these villages is by boat and many are running out of food,” said Jagan Chapagain, Under Secretary General for Programmes and Operations, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

“The situation is going from bad to worse. In Nepal, as waters finally recede, our teams are finding communities that have lost homes, identity documents – everything. In Bangladesh and India, the number of people affected is rising by the hour as waters rush south.”

Many victims 'poorest of poor' in Nepal
Many of the victims of the flooding in Nepal depend on agriculture to survive, and it is the smallholders and tenant farmers who are expected to feel the brunt of the damages.

According to an estimate by the Nepalese Ministry of Agricultural Development, the floods have caused over Rs. 8 billion in damage to crops, or about $77 million, primarily to rice paddy and vegetable crops.

In addition to the damages in the field, approximately 17,000 hectares have been damaged and transport is nearly impossible due to bad roads.

Flood waters start to recede
In India, the region of Bihar has been most affected, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal.

However, according to an Official from the Indian Disaster Management department, "The situation in West Bengal is slowly returning to normalcy. Our officers are constantly monitoring the situation as people are returning home from relief camps. However, people should keep in mind that the Mahananda river is still flowing above the danger mark."

Bihar is the largest producer of vegetables and the second largest producer of fruit in India. Approximately 80% of the population is active in agriculture, and it has been reported that more than 700,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed.  Shortages have caused supermarket prices to rise because transport to the area is nearly impossible due to closed roads and halted railways.

Publication date: 8/22/2017
Author: Heather Wicks
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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