DHAKA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The flooding in almost one-third of Bangladesh districts has left at least 20 people dead, affected half a million people and displaced thousands of families, a disaster official said on Monday.
Md Abu Bakar, an official at the Bangladeshi government's Department of Disaster Management, told Xinhua that "some 500,000 people are affected due to floods in 18 districts."
Floods and landslides triggered by heavy seasonal rains and onrush of water from hills across the Indian borders have till now claimed at least 20 lives in Bangladesh since last week, he added.
According to the official, authorities have rushed teams of disaster response force to carry out rescue operation, distribute relief materials and supervise centers where nearly thousands of families have taken shelter.
He said the affected districts included Sylhet, Sunamganj and Moulvibazar in northeastern Bangladesh and Chatttogram, Rangamati and Cox's Bazar in the country's southeast.
Floods have also caused widespread damage to habitation, crops, roads and highways across vast swathes of the country.
Local TV footage showed Monday that residents left their houses wading through flooded roads or on boats in search of shelter, or a dry ground to live temporarily.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked officials to remain alert to tackle flood, saying some parts of the country have been flooded and the flood water would slowly come down to the mid areas of the country by the end of August.
Millions of people in Bangladesh, criss-crossed by more than 230 rivers, suffer from flooding as the low-lying country experiences seasonal floods every year.