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South Asia's disunited nations prevent effective flood relief

Experts bemoan lack of cooperation that could save lives

<p>Flooding in Varanasi, India (file photo: <a href="<a%20href="http:/www.shutterstock.com/gallery-994253p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Daniel%20J.%20Rao</a>%20/%20<a%20href="http:/www.shutterstock.com/?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>" target="_blank">Shutterstock</a>) </p>

Flooding in Varanasi, India (file photo: Shutterstock

  • Navin Singh Khadka for BBC News
  • Asia
  • July 19, 2013
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A lack of co-operation between South Asian countries is preventing timely flood warnings that could save lives and property during the monsoon season.

Erratic and extreme rainfall is causing catastrophic flooding, most recently in northwest India and Nepal following heavy rainfall in June.

But the sharing of hydrological data can be a sensitive issue because of disputes over water use.

Officials say a network is required to share data across borders.

Experts and officials told the BBC that countries in the region are doing very little to help each other forecast floods.

Referring to the event last month, Chiranjibi Adhikary, chief district officer of Darchula district in western Nepal, which shares a border with India's flood-hit Uttarakhand state, said: "We received no warning from the Indian side about that devastating flood."

The flooding in the Mahakali river that criss-crosses India and Nepal claimed more than 30 lives on the Nepalese side and swept away many buildings at the district headquarters Khalanga.

Nearly 1,000 people have been confirmed dead because of the floods in the Indian side while thousands are still missing.

"We are still trying to contact them [the Indian authorities] to know what was the reason behind the floods, but there has been no telephone contact yet," Mr Adhikary told the BBC.

In western South Asia, the Kabul river that straddles Afghanistan and Pakistan was a major contributor to the massive floods in the Pakistani territory in 2010.

But, officials say, there was no communication on flood-forecasting between the two countries then, nor is there any now.

Full Story: South Asia disunity 'hampers flood warnings'

Source: BBC News

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