The 2017 monsoon has brought with it death and destruction across South Asia. More than forty million victims have been affected by floods and disease outbreaks, with the reported death toll having crossed 1,200 people who have fallen to natures fury.
Floods has also paralyzed India’s financial and commercial capital Mumbai, where 6 people including 2 toddlers have died in the past three days..
On Wednesday, Mumbai Police informed that a 45-year-old woman and a one-year-old child had died after their home in the north-eastern suburb of Vikhroli had crumbled. Another two-year-old girl passed away due to a wall collapse in the same area. Three people lost their lives in Thane after being swept away by flood waters.
Save the Children, an NGO reports that around 18,000 schools have either been destroyed or severely damaged, as a result of which more than 180,000 students are unable to go to school. The NGO further says that hundreds of thousands of children, as a result of this, can permanently drop out of the school system if the relief action did not prioritize education.
Rafay Hussain, Save the Children, general manager for Bihar state says:
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.
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.
Not just in India, but the heavy rains have paralyzed 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 inundating vast swaths of farmland.
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According to The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), this flood is the fourth significant one this year, having affected more than 7.4 million people in Bangladesh, damaging or destroying more than 697,000 houses.
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So far, in Bihar, around 550 people have lost their lives and more than 1.7 million have been stranded; in Uttar Pradesh, more than 109 people have died and over 2.5 million people have been affected. The IFRC records that over 100 people have lost their lives in Nepal due, mainly due to landslides.
The National Disaster Response Force did launch a rescue mission with police in Mumbai to evacuate people from low-lying areas but operations were thwarted by the incessant rains.
Mumbai joint commissioner of police Amitesh Kumar said:
The heavy rains, flooding, are delaying our rescue work. Even we are stranded.
Rainwater in Mumbai even swamped King Edward Memorial Hospital, forcing doctors to vacate the pediatric ward.
One doctor from the 1800-bedded hospital said:
We are worried about infections … the rain water is circulating rubbish that is now entering parts of the emergency ward.
It is one of the heaviest rainfall that the commercial capital of the country has received after the floods of 2005, which had killed more than 500 people. The Meteorological Department has warned of more rains in the next 24 hours.