Asia Minute: South Asia’s Monsoon Flooding Most Severe in Years

Aug 29, 2017

Credit mckaysavage / Flickr

While the devastation of flooding in and around Houston continues, a different kind of flooding is taking place in Asia. These waters are not from a hurricane or a tropical storm, but from a tropical monsoon. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


The United Nations says some 41 million people have already been affected by the worst monsoon flooding to hit parts of South Asia in years.

More than 1,200 people have been killed, and the death toll is certain to rise. Millions more have been cut off from food and clean water.

Villages have become isolated by floodwaters in at least three countries: India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The monsoon is a seasonal event—actually a shift in the wind.

Generally starting sometime in May and lasting through September, those monsoon winds blow from the southwest bringing rain.

The question of how much rain and with what degree of intensity is one that preoccupies the entire agriculture sector of South Asia…as well as government officials.

Across much of India, the start of this year’s season was about average, and even slightly below the usual pattern.

But it’s been uneven with floods killing nearly 400 people in the eastern state of Bihar last week alone.

In Nepal, the U.N. says it’s the worst flooding in a decade.

Some grains in Bangladesh were already hit by flash floods in April—which destroyed about a million tons of rice according to government figures.

The broader impact on crops will be determined later.