In 1998 the monsoon brought more than its usual amount of chaos to the Ganges Delta. The rains combined with El Nino to bring about the worst ﬂoods in living memory.
Environmental degradation also played a part – deforestation of the Himalayan foothills hundreds of miles away meant that rain was not retained by the soil and water flow directly to the rivers.
Normally, the ﬂoods last four or five weeks, this year they went on for over ten weeks. Two thirds of Bangladesh was under water with over twenty million people forced out of their homes, hundreds dead. As the waters began to recede, people faced the nightmare of water borne diseases; cholera and diarrhoea would kill hundreds more before the disaster is over.