By Madeline Billet
It’s becoming increasingly evident that climate change is no longer is no longer a threat of the future, but a crisis affecting people right now. On the border straddling Bangladesh and India, millions of people have had to evacuate their homes, for a concurrent period of deadly floods and unbearable heatwaves are plaguing the region. While Southeast Asia has been historically prone to heavy rainfall, the current floods are unprecedented. At least 60 people have been found dead so far at the Indian/Bangladeshi border so far, according to bdnews.
In the Sylhet region of Bangladesh, floodwaters swept through towns and villages, killing dozens a displacing countless others. As locals attempt to escape, they must unsafely travel by boat, for 150 roads in Sylhet alone are completely submerged in water. While the floodwater is reportedly receding in some areas, many rivers in Bangladesh remain at extraordinarily high levels.
As of 22 June, 2022, the flooding in Bangladesh has displaced nearly 4 million people. According to Aljazeera, A 2015 study by the World Bank Institute said about 3.5 million of Bangladesh’s 160 million people are at risk of river flooding every year.
Local villagers not only lost their homes, but their crops and livestock that traditionally earn them their living. According to the Guardian, people were reportedly seen fishing in the floodwaters, as well as bringing their cattle with them to the shelters. The Bangladeshi government additionally closed nearly 600 schools and colleges in order to make infrastructural space for those seeking refuge.
On the other side of the border in India, the floods are even deadlier. Local disaster management authorities report at least 50 deaths at the hands of flooding, landslides and thunderstorms. Specifically, in the northeastern state of Assam, 18 people have perished at a weather event scientists are claiming to be directly caused by climate change.
The Assam State Disaster Management Authority reports more than three thousand villages in the area completely or partially submerged in water. The Management Authority also stated that more than 92,000 people have found refuge in the state sponsored relief camps, where clean water, food, and other necessities are being distributed by rescue forces. As the floods rush through Southeast Asia, the region faces an intense heatwave, with temperatures reaching upwards of 122 degrees Fahrenheit.