Here in the Philippines, we have monsoons, that is heavy rains starting in May which is when our planting season starts.

This year, we have had less rain than usual in Luzon, although there have been some floods in the south, and the usual typhoons so far have gone north to hit Japan rather than Luzon.
However, the Asian subcontinent (India, Bengladesh and Nepal) has had excessive rains and flooding, affecting 20 million people, and causing millions to be homeless and killing at least 1000 in India. In Bihar state, the flooding is the worst in 30 years.

The International Herald Tribune reports:

So far this year, some 14 million people in India and 5 million in Bangladesh have been displaced or marooned by flooding, according to government figures. At least 132 people have died in recent days because of the floods in India and 54 more in Bangladesh.

India’s Meteorological Department said unusual monsoon patterns this year have led to heavier than normal rains.

And local health officials are now working to coordinate the work of NGO’s in supplying needed food, clean water, and vaccinations to prevent cholera, typhoid and other water related diseases.

District relief officer Abul Khaer in northern Sirajganj district says it is hard to get aid to some people.

“We are distributing dried food to people by boat but in some places we cannot reach people because of lack of boats, so we are making rafts by cutting banana trees,” he said.

Nepal has also been badly hit and its home ministry says the death toll has risen to 87.

About 32 of the Himalayan nation’s 75 districts have been affected. Biratnagar, a border town close to India, reported 223 millimetres of rain in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, further downstream in eastern West Bengal state and north-eastern Assam, the situation is improving, a government spokesman said.

A Central Water Commission bulletin says water-levels in all the major rivers and their tributaries are receding.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines.

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