Death toll in South Asia monsoon flooding rises to 245

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Flood-affected villagers wait for relief material on a broken road washed away by floodwaters in Morigaon district, east of Gauhati, northeastern state of Assam, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
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Bystanders look on as floodwaters rage near a house in Kurigram, northern Bangladesh on August 14, 2017. (AFP)
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Bangladeshi stand on a raft made of banana tree trunks in an area submerged by flood in Kurigram, northern Bangladesh on August 14, 2017. (AFP)
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Flood-affected Indian villagers move on a banana raft to collect drinking water at Murkata village, east of Gauhati, north eastern Assam state, India, on Aug. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
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Nepali police officers clean their office area at Tilathi Village in Saptari district, some 450km southeast of Katmandu, on Tuesday. (AFP / Prakash Mathema)
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Flood-affected villagers travel by boat in floodwaters in Morigaon district, east of Gauhati, northeastern state of Assam, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
Updated 15 August 2017

Death toll in South Asia monsoon flooding rises to 245

KATMANDU/DHAKA: The death toll in flooding and landslides that devastated parts of northern India, southern Nepal and Bangladesh over the past few days has risen to 245, while millions of others have been displaced, officials said Tuesday.
In Nepal, authorities scrambled to send relief supplies to flood-hit areas where incessant rain has flooded hundreds of villages, killing 110 people.
Security forces helped rescue people marooned on rooftops, while helicopters were distributing food and drinking water packets in the worst-hit southern districts.
With hundreds of thousands of people affected by the floods, the government was focusing on moving in relief supplies as soon as possible, said Ram Krishna Subedi, a home ministry spokesman.
Nepal’s home minister, Janardan Sharma, spent the morning at a relief distribution center at Katmandu’s airport to ensure that the aid was reaching all areas affected by the flooding. Nepal’s government has been under criticism for not being able to reach people desperate for help.
Across Nepal’s southern border, flooding swamped 13 districts in the Indian state of Bihar. Officials said 41 people had been killed, many from drowning, or after being caught in collapsed houses or under toppled trees.
Television pictures showed people wading chest-deep through water carrying belongings and livestock.
“We will now focus more on rescue of those trapped in floods and relief distribution. People have nothing to eat, no clothes. So we have to provide them something to eat and save their lives,” said Nepali police spokesman Pushkar Karki.
Some 200,000 people were temporarily living in the more than 250 relief camps that the government has set up in school and government buildings.
In Bangladesh, at least 18 major rivers were flowing at dangerously high levels, according to the state-run Flood Forecasting and Warning Center.
Over the past two days, 27 people have died in the low-lying delta nation, while another 600,000 are marooned, Bangladesh’s disaster management minister, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury, said. Around 368,000 people have taken refuge in more than 970 makeshift government shelters, he said.
Deadly landslides and flooding are common across South Asia during the summer monsoon season that stretches from June to September.
The situation could get worse as heavy rain in parts of neighboring India flow downstream into the low-lying and densely populated country, they said.
Indian soldiers in boats and helicopters helped distribute food packets, medicine and drinking water to people affected by the floods.
Forty-six people were killed in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday when two buses were buried by a landslide in the Himalayan foothills. Another 21 have died in the remote northeastern state of Assam, where soldiers raced to rescue people marooned on rooftops.
In the northern Indian state of Bihar, national disaster relief force teams have been airlifted in to help with rescue and relief work, the government said.
Media reported that about two million people in the state had been affected, and at least 10 killed. Flooding has also killed at least 15 people in the last two days in Assam state in the northeast.
India’s meteorological department is forecasting more heavy rain into Wednesday.
Monsoon rains, which start in June and continue through September, are a lifeline for farmers in vast parts of rural India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, but they also cause loss of life and property damage every year.


Kim Jong Un supervises another North Korean military drill

Updated 10 min 52 sec ago

Kim Jong Un supervises another North Korean military drill

  • North Korea has publicized two military drill in three days
  • Kim Jong un has urged combat pilots to prepare against enemies ‘armed to the teeth’ while attending a flight demonstration

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a parachuting drill of military sharpshooters and vowed to build an “invincible army,” displaying more defiance even as the United States and South Korea called off their own exercises to create space for nuclear diplomacy.
The report Monday by the Korean Central News Agency came hours after President Donald Trump in a tweet urged Kim to “act quickly, get the deal done” while hinting at another summit, writing, “See you soon!”
At an Asian defense ministers’ conference in Bangkok on Sunday, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States has indefinitely postponed a joint military exercise with South Korea in an “act of goodwill” toward North Korea. Diplomats have been pushing to resume stalled nuclear talks ahead of Kim’s end-of-year deadline for the Trump administration to salvage the diplomacy.
North Korea has publicized two military drill in three days. A report Saturday said Kim urged combat pilots to prepare against enemies “armed to the teeth” while attending a flight demonstration.
KCNA published photos that showed Kim posing with North Korean air force sharpshooters and soldiers who used white parachutes to land on a training field.
Kim while supervising the drill said it’s “necessary to wage a drill without notice under the simulated conditions of real war” for improving his military’s war readiness and build it into an “invincible army,” KNCA said. Kim did not make any specific comment toward Washington or Seoul in the report.
North Korea has been ramping up missile tests and other military demonstrations in recent months in an apparent pressure tactic over the talks.
Negotiations have faltered since a February summit between Kim and Trump in Vietnam, which broke down after the U.S. rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.
Kim issued an end-of-year deadline for the Trump administration to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal while saying that the North would seek a “new path” if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure.
Working-level talks last month in Sweden broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans’ “old stance and attitude.”
North Korea last week said the United States has proposed a resumption of stalled nuclear negotiations in December. But North Korean negotiator Kim Myong Gil didn’t clearly say whether the North would accept the supposed U.S. offer and said the country has no interest in talks if they are aimed at buying time without discussing solutions.
He said the North isn’t willing to make a deal over “matters of secondary importance,” such as possible US offers to formally declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which was halted by a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, or establish a liaison office between the countries.