Bangladesh floods death toll rises to 13


Incessant rain swelled flood waters that have covered large areas of Bangladesh, hampering efforts today to rescue three million people marooned by rising waters and raising the death toll to 13.

Two children died after they were bitten by snakes floating in the roiling waters in northern Kurigram area, officials said.

The northeastern town of Sylhet at the centre of the worst-hit district lay under 60 cms of water and neighbouring Sunamganj district was inundated by the Surma and Kushiara rivers.

Road links between Sylhet and Sunamganj were severed and the railway between Sylhet and Akhaura was threatened by the floods.

More rain was forecast in the next few days and could flood areas around the capital, Dhaka.

Floods now covered nearly 20 of the 64 administrative districts of Bangladesh, leaving up to 3 million people marooned.

Thousands of families had sought refuge on roads and embankments as well as in schools, government buildings and boats after the floods forced them to abandon homes.

Relief and rescue operations have yet to start in many areas.

"We have enough relief goods but it is difficult to reach people in remote villages due to bad weather and a shortage of boats," said relief official Mr Mostafa Kamal.

Most of Bangladesh sits astride the deltas of a series of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas and about a third of the country floods every year during the monsoon.

Many people are landless and are forced to live and farm on flood-prone land.