Since 24 June, torrential rains in Bangladesh have set off flash floods and landslides in the low-lying areas in the south-eastern districts of Cox’ Bazar, Bandarban and Chittagong. The floods drowned hundreds of villages and killed at least 19 people, stranding over 200,000 according to the situation report published by the government’s Disaster Management Information Centre on June 28. The affected are facing a shortage of food supply, safe drinking water and are at the risk of being affected by water-borne diseases.
While the overall water level is decreasing in the affected regions, some areas are still experiencing waterlogging either because of a broken embankment or for being lower-lying lands. The affected population are currently in need of more food and safe drinking water, housing repair, tarpaulin for protection in this wet season, personal hygiene items and medical services.
The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has been on the ground responding across the country since the floods began. The National Society’s branch office staff, youth volunteers and volunteers of the cyclone preparedness programme have reached over 2,000 families (approximately 10,000 people) in Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban districts, providing them with search and rescue services, first aid, and dry and cooked food.
The Red Crescent is also collaborating with the World Food Programme to distribute biscuits to 30,000 families in Cox’s Bazar. The Red Crescent officials at these branches are currently seeking more funding to provide support to meet the pressing needs of thousands of flood victims in rural areas.
The International Federation of Red cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Bangladesh delegation is working closely with the Red Crescent to monitor the situation through local branches, weather updates from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department and reports published by the Disaster Management Information Centre.
“As the monsoon season extends up to October, the risk of more heavy rains and flooding also remains. We need to be ready with enough relief supplies locally to meet the humanitarian needs on the ground,” says David Philip John Easson, programme coordinator at the IFRC’s Bangladesh delegation.
– By Himadri Ahsan, IFRC