Experts at the Floods Information Centre in Dhaka began to get concerned towards the last week of August because of heavy rainfall in Bangladesh and in the catchment areas of the 23 tributaries of the Brahmaputra, Ganges and Meghna. On 31 August, flood levels rose dramatically and vast sections of the country went underwater. By 14 September, the flood was at peak, submerging 80,000 sq km of low-lying land, two thirds of the entire country.

The losses were staggering, far worse than the cyclone of 1985 and the floods of 1987. Thousands died. Millions of hectares of crops were damaged. Nearly 45 million people, over 40 percent of the population, lost something: a house, land, crops or cattle. This included 1.2 million homes, one hundred thousand cattle, 61,483 kilometres of roads, and 8,393 schools. The quantifiable loss alone was put at a staggering U$ 2 billion.

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Himal Southasian