South Asia floods kill 1,200 and shut 1.8 million children out of school

Haroon Siddique. Heavy monsoon rains have brought Mumbai to a halt for a second day as the worst floods to strike south Asia in years continued to exact a deadly toll. Flooding across India, Nepal and Bangladesh has left parts of cities underwater with storm moving on to Pakistan, lashing the port of Karachi. More than 1,200 people have died across India, Bangladesh and Nepal as a result of flooding, with 40 million affected by the devastation. At least six people, including two toddlers, were among the victims in and around India’s financial capital. The devastating floods have also destroyed or damaged 18,000 schools, meaning that about 1.8 million children cannot go to classes, Save the Children warned on Thursday.

South Asia floods kill 1,200 and shut 1.8 million children out of school

The charity said that hundreds of thousands of children could fall permanently out of the school system if education was not prioritised in relief efforts. “We haven’t seen flooding on this scale in years and it’s putting the long-term education of an enormous number of children at great risk. From our experience, the importance of education is often under-valued in humanitarian crises and we simply cannot let this happen again. We cannot go backwards,” said Rafay Hussain, Save the Children’s general manager in Bihar state. “We know that the longer children are out of school following a disaster like this the less likely it is that they’ll ever return. That’s why it’s so important that education is properly funded in this response, to get children back to the classroom as soon as it’s safe to do so and to safeguard their futures.”

On Wednesday, police said a 45-year-old woman and a one-year-old child, members of the same family, had died after their home in the north-eastern suburb of Vikhroli crumbled late on Tuesday, and a two-year-old girl had died in a wall collapse. They said another three people had died after being swept away in the neighbouring city of Thane. The rains have led to flooding in a broad arc stretching across the Himalayan foothills in Bangladesh, Nepal and India, causing landslides, damaging roads and electric towers and washing away tens of thousands of homes and vast swaths of farmland. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says the fourth significant floods this year have affected more than 7.4 million people in Bangladesh, damaging or destroying more than 697,000 houses.

They have killed 514 in India’s eastern state of Bihar, where 17.1 million have been affected, disaster management officials have been quoted as saying. In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, about 2.5 million have been affected and the death toll stood at 109 on Tuesday, according to the Straits Times. The IFRC said landslides in Nepal had killed more than 100 people. The IFRC – working with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and the Nepal Red Cross – has launched appeals to support almost 200,000 vulnerable people with immediate relief and long-term help with water and sanitation, health and shelter. Streets in Mumbai have turned into rivers and people waded through waist-deep waters. On Tuesday, the city received about 12.7cm (5ins) of rain, paralysing public transport and leaving thousands of commuters stranded in their offices overnight. Poor visibility and flooding also forced airport authorities to divert some flights while most were delayed by up to an hour.



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