Bangladesh: Floods Appeal No. MDRBD002 Operations Update no. 3

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In Brief

Operations Update no. 03;

Period covered: 09 August to 20 August 2007;

Appeal target: CHF 7,113,118 (USD 5,907,905 OR EUR 4,310,980);

Appeal coverage: 13%;

Outstanding needs: CHF 6,201,080 (USD 5,150,399 or EUR 3,758,230);

Appeal history:

- Emergency appeal launched on 3 July 2007 for CHF 842,257 (USD 684,762 or EUR 510,459) for six months to assist 133,255 beneficiaries.

- The Emergency appeal was revised, due to deteriorating flooding situation in the country, on 16 August 2007 for CHF 7,113,118 for eight months to assist 1,200,000 beneficiaries.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) allocated on 20 June 2007 to assist 10,000 families: CHF 250,000 (USD 203,252 or EUR 150,875)

Operational Summary:

The suffering of the population affected by the recent floods in Bangladesh has been rising, even as floodwaters recede in some parts of the country.

According to latest government figures, 370 deaths have been reported so far, and approximately 2.3 million families (10.6 million people) are affected across the country. Thousands of people have been marooned and the receding floodwaters are leaving thousands more infected with water-borne diseases.

Significant damage has been done to houses, property, roads and infrastructure. Seedbeds have also been damaged and various crops like paddy, jute, sugarcane and vegetables have been destroyed, impacting food and livelihood options. The livestock and fish production sectors have suffered as well. (click here for Annex 1 for details of the disaster's impact).

Corresponding to the large number of affected people, the revised emergency appeal was launched on 16 August 2007, to assist 1,200,000 affected people, widening the scope of assistance by the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society/Federation to the flood-hit communities.

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal on www.ifrc.org.

Background

Though the flood water is receding in some parts of the flood affected areas of Bangladesh, concerns of the aftermath persist as consequences of the floods are just beginning to emerge. About 2.3 million families (10.6 million people) have been affected due to the floods that hit 40 districts and 252 upazillas (sub-districts) of the country, causing colossal damage to life, property, crops and livestock. Approximately 225,500 people, displaced by the floods and unable to return home, are still taking shelter in about 950 relief camps. The death toll has risen to 370, as, according to reports from different districts, thousands of affected people are facing severe shortages of food, drinking water and drugs, and are yet to receive relief assistance (owing to inadequate quantity of relief materials). The flood situation in the low-lying eastern part of Dhaka city remains static as water in the rivers around the city is receding very slowly (refer to Annex 1 for more details on the flood's impact).

A number of water-borne diseases, like diarrhea, cholera and skin diseases, are afflicting and spreading fast among the affected population, with already thousands of people already having been affected. The civil surgeon's office in the flood affected districts said that diseases are spreading due to a lack of drinking water in these areas. Around 62 government medical teams and a six-member defense medical team, together with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS), various NGOs and international organizations, are working towards trying to stop this spread.

According to the Directorate General of Health control room, 4,146 people contracted diarrhea across the country, in duration of 24 hours. The print media reported that 840 people with cases of diarrhea and pneumonia were admitted to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDRB), in a span of 20 hours. Since the week prior to reporting, tents have been set up at the ICDDRB hospital, to accommodate the onrush of diarrhea patients, who are being treated with antibiotics instead of the usual saline treatment, as they are suffering from severe diarrhea.

The floods have seriously affected the production of crops, including paddy, jute, sugarcane and vegetables, in 262 upazillas of 44 districts, which may lead to increase in the price of food items, especially vegetables. According to a preliminary estimate by the Department of Agricultural Extension, crops worth about BDT 20 billion (CHF 350 million or USD 291 million) in the 262 upazillas were damaged. Economists are of the view that the huge damage of crops in the flood-affected areas may lead to a record increase in the country's inflation rate.

According to Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), the weather phenomenon in the Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra river basins, during the one to days following the date of reporting, could be a turning point in the present flood situation in Bangladesh. A fresh spell of rainstorm, under the impact of a latest depression over northwest Bay of Bengal (off West Bengal-Bangladesh coast), could again aggravate the overall flood situation.

The meteorological office has said that the depression is likely to intensify further and move in a north-westerly direction. Squally weather may continue to affect maritime ports. According to the FFWC, the flood situation in some districts is likely to deteriorate slightly as rivers swell due to heavy rain.

Relief supplies, in cash and in kind, are being provided by different organizations and institutions to the Chief Adviser's relief fund and money being donated to this fund has been declared tax-free.

Operational developments

The emergency flood relief control room at BDRCS national headquarters was opened for better coordination and information sharing with its district units and other stakeholders. BDRCS headquarters continues to maintain close contacts with all its district branches. The national society has established a taskforce with the Federation, to strengthen the activities of BDRCS headquarters during the monsoon season. The Chinese ambassador has given a cheque of USD 30,000 directly to the BDRCS, for the flood affected people.

The local BDRCS branches in the flood affected districts are in close contact with local administration in assessing the current situation, and communicate with the emergency control room at BDRCS headquarters, with updates, on a regular basis. The local branches, with the help of Red Crescent Youth volunteers, have assisted in shifting affected people to safer ground and have participated in the distribution of limited emergency relief, through local fundraising for immediate distribution. All distributions have been made directly to the selected beneficiaries through the local branches.

Since 8th August, an assessment team, representing the BDRCS and the Federation, including the Asia Pacific Disaster Management Unit, has been active in the country, assessing the extent of the flood damage and revising the emergency appeal. The team conducted an aerial assessment throughout the flood affected areas, including physical visits to Sirajganj and Gaibanda districts, and visits by road to Manikganj, Dhaka and Faridpur, to assess the present needs of the most affected people living in remote villages, for inclusion in the revised appeal. They had several meetings with international and government organizations, NGOs and UN agencies.

Contact information

- Bangladesh Red Crescent Society: Mr. M. Shafiul Alam (Secretary General), email: bdrcs@bangla.net, phone: +88.02.935.2226

- Country Delegation in Bangladesh: Mr. Selvaratnam Sinnadurai (Head of Delegation), email: selvaratnam.sinnadurai@ifrc.org, phone: +88.02.933.7314, fax: +88.02.934.1631

- South Asia Regional Delegation in India: Ms. Nina Noble (Acting Head of Regional Delegation), email: nina.nobel@ifrc.org, phone: +91 11 2411 1122, fax: +91 11 2411 1128

- Asia Pacific Zone in Malaysia: Mr Jagan Chapagain (deputy head of zone), email: jagan.chapagain@ifrc.org; phone: +603.2161.0892; fax: +603.2161.1210; Regional Logistics Unit - Mr Ilir Caushaj (Regional)

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.