Heavy, pre-monsoon rains affected north-eastern India, Bangladesh, and Nepal beginning mid-May, leading to landslides, river overflow and floods. The flooding displaced millions and was among the worst in Bangladesh in decades. Scientists warn that catastrophic flooding events are on the rise, because of climate change which is threatening not only people, but infrastructure and agriculture. Some level of flooding in South Asia is expected during its monsoon season, which runs from June to September. But as temperatures rise, the monsoon is now marked by short spells of very heavy rainfall, which can trigger deadly, fast-moving floods.
South Asia, a region with millions of the most vulnerable people in the world, has this year become the embodiment of climate extremes and weather records. Devastating floods that have washed away homes, drowned rice fields and stranded millions of people in northeast India and Bangladesh in recent weeks are not unusual. What is unusual is that large areas of land in the two countries disappeared underwater much earlier this year. The peak flooding takes place in July and August when the monsoons are in full swing. But this year heavy rainfall began in May and created a disaster situation.