Because of its location, topography, and weather patterns, the People's Republic of Bangladesh is one of the most commonly flooded nations in the world.
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Heavy rains, or monsoons, are common to Bangladesh, and usually occur from June to October. Eighty per cent of Bangladesh's rainfall happens during the monsoons, and 60 per cent of the country is inundated during severe monsoon seasons.
The geography of Bangladesh contributes greatly to its vulnerability to flooding. Approximately 250 rivers cross the country and some, including the Meghna, can swell to up to 5 miles wide during the rainy season. Bangladesh is also the drainage basin for rivers that begin in India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.
In the last hundred years, floods in Bangladesh have killed more than 50,000 people, and destroyed the homes of nearly 32 million. In 2004, one of the country's worst floods killed 1,000 and caused more than two billion dollars worth of damage. Floods in 1998 caused similar damage and left 3,500 dead.
Further casualties of major flood events in Bangladesh often result from malnutrition or starvation, as well as water- or mosquito-born illnesses. However, the distribution of silt helps to fertilise soil, and ultimately floods can be beneficial to later agriculture production.
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