Over 16 million people in Bangladesh, Nepal and India are affected by the monsoon floods ravaging parts of South Asia and unfolding a humanitarian crisis, according to International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Floods have already reached record levels in Bangladesh with major rivers like the Jamuna surpassing levels set in 1988—the deadliest flood the country has ever faced, IFRC said in a press statement, quoting authorities.
Many areas in Nepal remain cut off after the destructive floods and landslides on August 11 and 12, while over 11 million people in four Indian states across the country's north are affected by recent floods, said the statement issued yesterday.
"This is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crises this region has seen in many years, and urgent action is needed to meet the growing needs of millions of people affected by these devastating floods," Martin Faller, IFRC deputy regional director for Asia Pacific, said in the statement.
Millions of people across Nepal, Bangladesh and India face severe food shortages and disease caused by polluted flood waters, he said.
“More than one third of Bangladesh and Nepal have been flooded and we fear the humanitarian crisis will get worse in the days and weeks ahead,” he added.
In Bangladesh, floods are likely to get much worse as swollen rivers from India pour into the low-lying and densely populated areas in the north and centre of the country. Over 3.9 million people have been affected by the rising flood waters.
In Nepal, villages and communities are stranded without food, water and electricity, read the statement.
“This tragic flooding in Nepal has claimed at least 128 lives and 33 people are still missing,” said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, secretary general, Nepal Red Cross Society.
India's meteorological department is forecasting more heavy rain for the region in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Unicef in Bangladesh has started providing initial support to flood affected people in addition to the ongoing preliminary rapid assessment, said a press release yesterday.
Citing the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, it said an estimated 3.9 million people in 20 districts were affected in the country.
As of August 14, 89 people have died. More than 282,400 people are living in 1,392 shelters in affected areas.
About 1,000 schools are closed while most rivers are flowing above the danger levels.
To accelerate immediate response on education, Unicef allocated $90,000 for repairing schools in Mymensingh, Sylhet and Rangpur divisions. The fund will also be used to support district education authorities ensure temporary education arrangement for children in the shelters.
“Unicef will stand by the flood affected people and continue its emergency support in close collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh," Unicef Country Representative Edouard Beigbeder said in the press release.