South Asia floods set to worsen with high tides and heavy rains
These are the worst floods since 1988. More than 1000 people have died and millions have been made homeless. Oxfam is working with a number of national organisations to provide relief to 200,000 victims of flooding, supplying water purification tablets, plastic sheeting for shelters, health and hygiene kits and basic food stuffs.
"The situation is really grim. Once the flood waters come, they take time to recede and this is a serious public health risk because of water stagnation" says Biranchi Upadhyaya of Oxfam in Delhi.
The aid agency says the relief effort may have to be doubled in scale to deal with the catastrophe. While the British government has already pledged =A310 million to Bangladesh, Oxfam is urgently appealing for more funds. Above all Oxfam stressed that immediate relief does not go far enough: many crops have been destroyed and farming communities will need assistance for up to a year.
Oxfam says that while flooding is an annual event in the region, more could be done to reduce the devastation caused. River embankments need to be properly maintained and governments need to regulate logging which increases the risk of flooding.
For further information, please contact Flora Botsford, Oxfam Media Unit, 01865 312498
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