As of 15 July 2004 Event: Floods
For the past week, heavy to moderate torrential rains and raging waters from across the border of Bangladesh continued to worsen the monsoon flood situation in the north-eastern and the northwestern part of Bangladesh. So far, 18 of 64 districts have been reported to be affected by this current deluge. The districts affected the most include Nilphamari, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Bogra, Sirajganj, Sherpur, Faridpur, Rajbari, Bhola, Barisal, Sylhet, Sunamganj and Moulvi Bazar. The Control Room of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management is still in the process of compiling a detailed damage report on the affected areas. As such, government estimates on the damage incurred by the present deluge is still not be available. The Government of Bangladesh has reported that the floods have claimed 18 lives with over 6.3 million affected. Over 38,000 people displaced have taken refuge in 129 temporary flood shelters set-up by the District Administration. 82,025 acres of agricultural land have been inundated and 50,000 homes completely damaged.
Evolution of the Situation:
The floods are one of the worst in recent years as all of the country’s main river sytems, the Jamuna (Bhramaputra), Padma (Ganges) and Meghna began to rise simultaneously flooding the Northwest, Northeast and Central regions. According to the Flood Forecasting and Monitoring Center of the Government of Bangladesh, the over all monsoon flood situation in Bangladesh is likely to deteriorate if heavy rainfall ensues. Currently, the situation has stabilized without any deterioration in the past 24 hours. In some areas in the north-east and north west parts of the country waters have started to recede and torrential rains have stopped. However, more lowlands and central districts including Dhaka are likely to experience flooding due floodwater flow from higher ground in the next 72 hours.
The Communicable Disease Control Unit of DGHS confirmed that there would be no shortage of drugs and emergency medical supplies if any emergency medical relief programme is to be continued in the affected areas for a contracted period in view of the current monsoon flood. Surveillance and monitoring of diseases is a high priority activity.
Map of Danger Levels of Flood in Bangladesh: From the GIS of the Bangladesh Center for Health Emergency Preparedness
Map of Flood Affected Districts: From the GIS of the Bangladesh Center for Health Emergency Preparedness
The local governments and authorities are responding to the situation which include:
- Deployment of mobile medical teams to affected areas and displaced people in temporary shelters;
- Routine disease surveillance strengthened;
- Control rooms in the district health and Directorate of General Health Services have been activated; and
- Despatch of necessary medical and essential supplies for distribution and pre-positioning in the districts
The EHA Country staff of WHO-Bangladesh with its National Counter part - the Bangladesh Center for Health Emergency Preparedness and Response are working together to manage the emergency.
EHA-WHO Bangladesh and BCHEPR are in close contact with the Disease Control unit of the DGHS as well as with the local health authorities of the affected districts in order to assess whether any assistance is required from WHO for responding to the present flood situation in the country. The following activities are being carried out by EHA Bangladesh:
- Technical and Managerial support is provided by the EHA –WHO Bangladesh
- Monitoring health situation and possible outbreaks using the early Warning System to support health intelligence
- Necessary technical assistance is being provided to the Disease Control Unit of the DGHS
The EHA Country staff of WHO-Bangladesh, under the overall guidance of WR-Bangladesh, is monitoring the present flood situation in the country apart from providing technical assistance to the national health authority for coordinating the on-going emergency response operation.
No formal request has, so far, been received by the WHO Country Office in Bangladesh from the national health authority for any assistance in view of the present flood situation.
From a report by: Dr Mamunur Rahman Malik, EHA Focal Point, WHO Bangladesh
Sources of Information: Control Room of the Directorate General of Health Services; Communicable Disease Control Unit, Directorate General of Health Services; Control Room of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management Flood Control and Monitoring Center, (http://www.ffwc.net) Government of Bangladesh