1st LD Writethru: Floods claim lives of at least 18 people in NW Bangladesh

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DHAKA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Flesh floods triggered by heavy seasonal rains and onrush of water from hills across the Indian borders on Sunday claimed lives of at least 18 people in three northwestern Bangladesh districts.

Flood situation in Dinajpur district, some 338 km northwest of capital Dhaka, deteriorated drastically early on Sunday after an embankment for protection of the the district town was broken, Monsur Ali Sarkar, officer-in-charge of the district's Kaharol Police Station, told Xinhua Sunday night.

He said that "five people are dead after flash flooding swept away in places in Kahrol."

Abdul Majid, another official of the district's Birol Police Station, said four people were dead and one man was missing after a flash flood roared Birol."

Overall flood situation is also alarming in two more Bangladesh districts - northwestern Lalmonirhat and northern Kurigram where rivers are flowing above the danger level.

Eight more deaths have been reported in these two districts in connection with the massive flooding.

The Lalmonirhat and Kurigram deaths reported by the local media, however, have not been confirmed immediately.

Apart from the district, flash floods eroded large portions of villages and agricultural lands, and washed away buildings elsewhere in Bangladesh.

Authorities have evacuated residents of hundreds of villages to higher grounds in a number of Bangladesh districts that are prone to torrential rains between June and September.

TV reports showed villages in the country's north and northeast have gone under up-to-waist-high water. The residents were seen leaving their houses wading through flooded roads or on boats in search for shelter or a dry ground to live temporarily.

A Bangladeshi minister said last month that there was possibility of "high magnitude flooding" in the country amid moderate to heavy rains which have led to further elevated rivers and canals.

"There is possibility of high magnitude flooding in the second half of August," Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud told reporters.

He said the country has been experiencing an increasingly intense rainfall over the last weeks.

Plight to millions of people in Bangladesh mount as the low-lying Bangladesh experiences almost every year small or big floods, as monsoon rains that sweep the subcontinent from June to September combine with snow melt from the Himalayas in major rivers that run through the country to the Bay of Bengal.

Experts said Bangladesh, bordering the Bay of Bengal, has become more vulnerable to climate change-related problems like cyclones, flooding, as its capacity to protect its people and land is feeble.

In 2007, two floods in Bangladesh killed more than 1,000 people. Enditem

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