In Bangladesh, heavy monsoon rainfall since 9 July 2019 throughout the country and upstream regions adjacent to border, has led to a massive flooding situation in low lying areas of Northern, northeastern and south-eastern districts of Bangladesh. Flooding has triggered river erosion, breached dams, snapped road and rail links, inundated crop fields and forced educational institutions shut. It has also led to a shortage of food and drinking water and causing water-borne diseases. Over 37 people, mostly children, have drowned as flash floods washed away homes or boats capsized. More than 4 million people are at risk of flood insecurity and disease, according to latest reports.
Friendship NGO is working in Gaibandha and Kurigram, Bogura, Jamalpur districts in the affected area. According to Friendship, 221 chars (river islands) in Gaibandha, Kurigram, Bogura, Shirajgonj and Jamalpur districts have been affected with more than 300,000 people. In addition to rescue, shelter, water-sanitation and medical services, the NGO has taken initiative to provide relief to flood affected people.
“The floods this year are extreme, having affected millions of people in less than a fortnight,” said Kazi Amdadul Hoque, Head of Climate Change Adaptation & Disaster Management at Friendship. “The main challenge caused by floods usually has to do with time; either the flood lasts so long it causes a scarcity in food and supplies, or it comes on suddenly, leaving farmers unable to save their crops and livestock in time. This time the challenge is its sheer magnitude” said Hoque.
Almost 8,800 people along with their livestock are being sheltered at Friendship’s 9 plinths (which are clusters of homes raised above the flood levels) and at 16 Friendship schools. The NGO is operating 2 mobile boat charging stations roaming with capacity of charging 15 mobile phones at a time, going to stranded people and giving them connectivity. In addition, fixed mobile phone charging stations have been installed in 6 chars. 40 emergency health camps were conducted for the affected people which served nearly 5,000 patients, 17 emergency tube well and 25 emergency latrines have been installed which is providing 6,500 persons safe water and sanitation. More than 400 community volunteers and more than 200 staff of Friendship are in action to mitigate the damage and harm caused by the flood.
“10 years ago, food was the first need for flood victims,” said Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director of Friendship. “Today due to the interventions from various organizations, where Friendship has played a major role in it especially in the Chars, people have learned to save money and keep dry food in stock for such occasions. The overall resilience and preparedness are much better than in decades past. However, they still need the bridge for rehabilitation.”
The adverse effect created by the flood has put the life of millions of people at a stake. On top of the communities' existing preparation, the aid from the government and NGOs are very important to these people in this situation. They need support from different levels for an effective flood recovery.
Friendship is a non-governmental organization, whose core project is working for the vulnerable communities in Bangladesh. Founded by Ms. Runa Khan in 2002, it began with the innovative concept of a floating hospital and progressively built its distinctive integrated community development model, which includes health, education, climate change adaptation and disaster management, sustainable economic development, inclusive citizenship, and cultural preservation, besides its work with refugees and disaster-stricken communities for relief and rehabilitation. Friendship’s core work reaches out to 5 million people
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