Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Landslides and Floods - Information Bulletin n° 1

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 185 countries.

In Brief

This Bulletin (no. 01/2007) is being issued for information only, and reflects the status of the situation and information available at this time. The Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

The Situation

Heavy rainfall resulted in a landslide in Chittagong district in Bangladesh on Monday, 11 June 2007, killing 124 people so far and destroying houses, roads and embankments, as well as disrupting electricity, gas lines and communication facilities. According to the Bangladesh weather office, rainfall measured on 11 June (until 9 pm) was 408 mm, the heaviest in 25 years. A number of areas were under water as a result of incessant rainfall over the four days prior to the date of reporting. On 11 June, it was reported that 41 wards (consisting of 1.5 million people) were waterlogged. On Tuesday, 12 June, the number of people in the waterlogged areas decreased to 500,000, as the water level receded.

Some of the major rivers are still flowing above the danger level and many river embankments in different parts of the country have been seriously damaged. People have been forced to take shelter in army cantonment areas and shelters built by the government. The maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Mongla hoisted cautionary signal No-3, as advised by the government's meteorological department.

Four reasons were identified for the landslide: indiscriminate cutting of hill forest cover for setting up slum dwellings, abnormal rise in the level of high tide, high tide combined with concurrent heavy rainfall, and the poor drainage system.

The search and rescue operation by the Bangladesh army, police and the fire service and civil defence department is ongoing. United Nations agencies are also active and the World Food Programme and United Nations Children's Fund have jointly started an assessment in Chittagong. Action Aid Bangladesh is working with the fire service and civil defence department in search and rescue, food and medical support for 1,800 families in Kumira in Chittagong district, and has provided the support of rescue equipment to the fire service and civil defence department. The NGOs 'Islamic Relief, Bangladesh' and a local NGO 'Unite Theatre for Social Action' are also responding to the situation. Community people, teachers and students from Chittagong university are participating in the rescue operations.

So far, the government has allocated 1.3 million Taka and 200,000 kilograms of rice for the relief operation in Chittagong. The local administration is distributing clothing items for men and women, as well as dry food items to the affected people, while the army is providing clothing, oral rehydration salts, rice, cooked food, biscuits and other dry food in some affected areas of Chittagong, together with medical support to the injured. The United Nations Development Programme will transfer money equivalent of US$ 20,000 to a government fund, to complement its response effort.

Reports from local Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) units and media sources state that moderate to severe flooding also took place (on 12 and 13 June) in other parts of Chittagong district, as well as in other districts of the country including Cox's Bazar, Comilla, Netokona, Sunamganj, Feni, Borguna, Hobiganj, Moulibazar, Joypurhat, Bogra, Naogaon, Kurigram, Chandpur, Shariatpur and Rangpur. The press reported a landslide, following flash floods, in Bandarban district, which left two people dead. This was confirmed by the local BDRCS unit in that area.

Map: Bangladesh: landslide and floods

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

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

Federation 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

Federation South Asia regional delegation in India: Anitta Underlin (head of regional delegation); email: anitta.underlin@ifrc.org; phone: +91.11. 2411.1125; fax: +91.11. 2411.1128

Federation Secretariat in Geneva (Asia Pacific department): Hiroto Oyama (regional officer); email: hiroto.oyama@ifrc.org; Phone: +41.22.730.4273; Fax: +41.22.733.0395 or Gokce Balcik (senior assistant); email: gokce.balcik@ifrc.org; phone: +44.22.730.4429; fax: +41.22 733.0395