DHAKA, Bangladesh – The number of deaths from monsoon rains (search) across South Asia surged past 1,300 on Wednesday, with Bangladesh's government reporting more than 450 people killed since June. Millions of others are homeless.
Floodwaters and other related problems have claimed the lives of nearly 770 people in India, more than 100 people in Nepal (search) and five others in Pakistan, according to reports by officials compiled by The Associated Press.
Victims often drown or are killed by landslides, collapsing houses, lightning and bites from poisonous snakes flushed out by the water.
This year's flooding in Bangladesh (search) has been the worst in six years, with experts blaming unusually heavy monsoon rains and rivers full of silt for the deluge that has covered two-thirds of the country.
In neighboring India, flooding in eastern states has raised the death toll across South Asia to 1,327 since mid-June, well on the way to surpassing last year's figure of 1,500 deaths during the monsoon season.
With nearly 40 percent of Dhaka, a city of 10 million, now flooded, many residents have been forced to move in with relatives in drier areas, take refuge in shelters at multistoried buildings, or simply camp out on raised sidewalks along major roads.
Others have stacked sand bags or layers of bricks at entrances to their homes and businesses to prevent water seeping through.
In the residential district of Badda in eastern Dhaka, Parvin Sultana and her two small children waited for a taxi on a dry spot at the edge of a road.
"Water entered our house last week. It's rising, so we are going to my parents' place," Sultana said. But her husband will stay behind in their flooded home — with furniture raised on bricks and wooden blocks — to look after their belongings.
"If we all leave, everything will be gone when we come back," she said, fearing burglary as well as the force of the waters.
While many public schools have canceled classes and converted the buildings into shelters for thousands of flood refugees, private institutions like Galib's remained open. Up to 125,000 displaced people were living in 160 flood shelters in Dhaka.
In the worst-hit Indian state of Bihar, the death toll rose to more than 520 Wednesday with the recovery of 37 more decomposed bodies. In India's northeast Assam state, officials asked the Red Cross and other aid agencies for anti-venom medicine for snakebite victims and rehydration salts for those with diarrhea.