Bangladesh: Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 6 Corrigendum
OCHA Situation Report No. 6
Bangladesh - Floods
30 July 2004
This situation report is based on information provided by the United Nations Disaster Management Team in Dhaka.
1. Although official forecasts are showing that an improvement in the flood situation can be expected over the next coming days/weeks, the situation in most of the affected districts are still alarming and timing is critical especially at this stage.
2. There is coordination between the Government and local, national, and international NGOs to bring critically needed assistance to many of the flood-affected people. However, urgent steps need to be taken and critical relief items need to reach the affected areas within the shortest time possible in order to minimise the likely outbreaks of epidemics in the inundated areas - particularly as the floods recede. Concern still remains over the flooding of the Central region around Dhaka, and in the coming weeks, further downstream.
3. The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) gave the following information on the main river basins in Bangladesh:
- Ganges- Padma - The water level has
been consistently falling over the past couple of days and is now only
at danger levels in the Central Region west of Dhaka.
- Brahmaputra- Jamuna - The water level
here is also in decline, though around the district of Gaibandha remains
at danger levels. Downstream, the water is now at above danger levels at
the confluence with the Ganges-Padma and is partially engulfing the area
- Megna - There has been a steady decline in the water levels of the Megna though in Sylhet, Netrokona and Kishoreganj districts it remains at above danger levels. The Megna's waters are also flowing into the Central region that are also affecting Dhaka city.
- Stable flood situation: Dhaka, Munshiganj,
Narayanganj and Chandpur
- Improving flood situation: Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvi Bazar, Comilla, Netrokona, Habiganj, Kurigram, Rangpur, Gaibandha, Bogra, Naogaon, Pabna, malpur, Mymensingh, Serajganj, Manikganj, Tangail, Madaripur, Rajbari, Shariatpur, Gopalganj, Narshingdhi, Kishoreganj and Brahmanbaria
5. The Disaster Emergency Response (DER) Sub-Group has completed its assessment report, compiling district assessments from 30 districts conducted by over 50 NGOs. The assessment falls broadly in line with the Government's own figures of the gravity of the situation, with over 30 million people affected within the first three weeks of the flooding. The economic damages have been severe, as significant numbers of livestock have perished in the floodwaters, while more than 800,000 hectares of agricultural land, planted with the current aman rice crop, are either destroyed or partially damaged. As the floodwaters are unlikely to recede, most of this season's crop will be lost, and there is neither enough time nor resources to replant. Close to 2.5 million homes have been partially damaged or destroyed.
6. According to the assessment, nearly 6 million affected families are in need of immediate relief . Fears remain for the safety of the family members and the possessions rescued from the floodwaters though the situation is calm to date. Crime and burglary have increased, as thieves take advantage of abandoned houses. In a few areas, there have also been incidents of rape, as most of the affected families are now living in temporary and insecure shelters haphazardly erected on the few roads and embankments.
7. Both the Government and the NGO-sector in the country have undertaken relief measures, while the Army, Police, and local security forces have been deployed in some districts to help with distribution and to ensure safety for the people and their possessions. Many of the flood-affected people feel, however, that too little aid is coming too slowly in many instances. The ability of the Government and NGOs to provide effective help is also hampered as road communications have cut off in many districts, leaving many villages accessible only by boat or by air transport.
8. With the current situation, there are primary and secondary critical needs.
- The primary needs are:
- Dry foodstuffs, namely rice, lentils,
vegetable/soybean oil, salt, flattened and puffed rice and molasses. For
children, particularly those under the age of 5, high protein biscuits
are urgently required.
- As tubewells have become contaminated and people are being left with no option but to consume unsafe surface water, dehydration is rampant while diarrhea and other water-borne diseases are spreading among the affected population. To protect against these imminent epidemics and to help those already affected, oral rehydration saline (ORS), water purification tablets (WPT), and bleaching powder to disinfect tubewells are immediately needed in significant quantities in all of the affected districts.
9. For more details on the short, mid and long-term needs, as well as issues concerning rehabilitation, please consult the detailed DER assessment report, which can be found on the DER website: http://LCGBangladesh.org.
Response to the crisis
10. The Government of Bangladesh has continued to respond to the crisis through its Standing Orders on Disaster. Among many things, it has activated Disaster Management committees at Ministerial, District, Upazila and Union levels - through which it is continuing to provide relief items to affected people who are often stranded by the high waters.
11. The Government has also welcomed all international assistance for relief, but more particularly for the relief and recovery phase. To this extent, it has welcomed the UN's decision to make an appeal to the international community for funds to assist the affected populations.
UN, NGO and International Community
12. Numerous Governments and Aid Agencies from around the world (DFID, USAID, ECHO, Belgium, as well as numerous NGOs) have allocated funds to be used in the relief efforts for the ongoing floods. This is representative of the growing concern felt by the international community for the relief and recovery required after floods of this large scale.
13. The DER sub-group, in an effort to better coordinate their relief assistance, has agreed to set up a sectoral coordination mechanism led by UN Agencies. Currently four working groups have been established: Food and Agriculture; Health and Nutrition; Water and Sanitation; and Shelter and Non-Food Items.
14. WHO has set up a Flood Crisis Management Team dedicated at responding to the current floods. In the field, the Divisional Coordinators and Districts surveillance medical officers (SMO) from the WHO are providing technical supports to the civil surgeons in terms of need assessments. Additionally, WHO continues to supply urgent drugs, WPTs and bleaching powder.
15. UNICEF has procured a further 3 million water purification tablets and 2 million packets of oral rehydration salts to be distributed by the Government. UNICEF continues to closely monitor the situation through its field staff and local NGOs and maintaining coordination with donors, UN Agencies and the DER members.
16. The Government of Bangladesh has welcomed WFP's offer of an Emergency Operation (EMOP) and will provide all necessary support to provide proper implementation of the WFP assisted emergency interventions. The EMOP is being finalized and it should be launched as early as next week. Together with the UNICEF Flash Appeal this will form stage 1 of the UN Assistance to be provided to Bangladesh for the current flood emergency. Stage 2 will bring together the wider UN system and key implementing partners in government Ministries and NGOs in a coordinated Flash Appeal for Relief and Rehabilitation into early 2005.
17. UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) is going to field a three-member team to look closely at transition issues. At the same time, UNDP has received GBP 5 million to be disbursed to NGO and UN partners involved in providing non-food items to the affected people. More details can be obtained by contacting UNDP-Bangladesh.
18. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is deploying a six-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team to support the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management and the UN-DMT's efforts in coordination.
19. The UN Disaster Management Team has also agreed on 28 July 2004 to launch a UN Flash appeal for relief, recovery and rehabilitation of flood-affected people. Work has begun on the appeal, which should be launched shortly.
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Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
Mr. Soichi Nakajima
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 4034
(GVA) Ms. Elena Ponomareva-Piquier, direct
Tel. +41-22-917 2336
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917 367 5126
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