Bangladesh Is a Third Underwater…and You Probably Haven’t Heard
The world’s eighth-most populous country is suffering from abnormally high floods after a costly cyclone hit earlier this year, all during a global pandemic.
Fierce monsoons hit South Asia every summer, lashing the tropical subcontinent with feet of rain. Countries like India and Bangladesh depend deeply on regular and predictable monsoon rainfall. Even small variations in monsoon intensity can have major downstream effects.
But an abnormally strong monsoon and a record-high costly cyclone occurring in the midst of a global pandemic? Only in 2020.
2020 has been particularly cruel to Bangladesh, a poor country whose welfare is tied inextricably to nature.
The world’s eighth-most populous country is about a quarter to a third underwater…but you probably haven’t even heard about it.
What’s Going On:
According to the New York Times, between 24% and 37% of the country is underwater. According to official government data, 4.7 million people have been displaced, 984,819 houses have been inundated, and 129 people have died. More than 1,500 square kilometers (600 square miles) of farmland have been damaged.
All of this devastation has come after Bangladesh suffered from Cyclone Amphan in May — the costliest cyclone to ever hit the North Indian Ocean — which did the following to the disaster-stricken country:
- Destroyed 55,667 homes and damaged nearly 220,000 homes, rendering about 500,000 people homeless
- Inundated roughly 100 villages due to a 2.7 m (9 ft) storm surge
- Damaged about 1,100 km (680 mi) of roads and over 200 bridges
- Affected 435,000 acres of farmland
- Left 22 million electricity customers without power
It bears repeating that both of these disasters — the cyclone and the monsoon-driven flooding — have come during the pandemic, which certainly hasn’t made response efforts any easier.
Imagine if a quarter to a third of the United States was underwater. It would be the news of…