Bangladesh's capital sees heaviest rain in 53 years

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Drivers pull their rickshaws Tuesday through a flooded street in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Heavy monsoon rains have battered Bangladesh’s capital, flooding streets and homes, stranding thousands and forcing businesses and schools to close. (Pavel Rahman ~ Associated Press)

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- The heaviest rain in 53 years battered Bangladesh's capital Tuesday, leaving at least six people dead and stranding thousands in their swamped homes.

The national weather office said 13 inches of rain fell in 12 hours in Dhaka, an overcrowded city of about 10 million people -- the most in a single day since 1956.

Live power lines snapped and killed at least six people, including two children, in central Dhaka, hospital authorities said. They gave no further details.

Huge snarls of traffic inched along, with people waist-deep in water. Commuters waded their way home or waited for hours to get transport.

"I've been waiting here for three hours for a bus to come," said Halima Khatoon, a garment worker in the city's Badda district.

The private NTV television station reported that residents in low-lying areas were stranded in their homes. Trading on the Dhaka stock exchange was delayed for half the day, and schools in flooded areas were closed.

Floods caused by monsoon rains are common in Bangladesh, a delta nation of 150 million people.

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