The monsoon floods of the year 2020 has an overall impact on the Northern, North-Eastern and South-Eastern region of Bangladesh. The floods have impacted 21 districts of Bangladesh with moderate to severe impact on 16 Districts. Highest peak of the flooding was predicted to be at the Bahadurabad point, with 71% probability of high flooding. The peak of the flood was anticipated to hit on the 18th July 2020.
As of 22 July, 2020, 102 upazila and 654 unions have been inundated in flood, affecting 3.3 million people and leaving 7,31,958 people water logged. 93 people has already lost their life, mostly as a result of drowning is the major cause of the death and 41 child died due to drowning since 30th June 2020.
The Monsoon floods coupled with prolonged inundation and the COVID-19 pandemic has an exacerbating effect on the flood affected people. Therefore, making 2020 monsoon flood more complex than ever; as there is an important practice of social distancing and handwashing which is quite impossible to maintain as flood affected people are displaced and are evacuating to shelters where it is congested and WASH facilities are also compromised.
Disruptions of the economic and social activity is high for unions with high displacement rate. As per primary data, 24% unions have more than 40% of the people displaced, where 80% of union’s people are staying in other places and 93% of the unions witnessed disruption in income generating and social activities. Due to damages of shelters; many are living together which increases the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
Many flood protection infrastructures such as dykes and embankments are already damaged from previous monsoon floods along with the current floods. 220 unions have already reported having their embankments damaged. The normal recovery cycle after a disaster is 3-5 years but due to back -to- back disaster this recovery cycle is hampered. This also compromises the repair and reconstruction of the infrastructures, which is further constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unrepaired and unmaintained infrastructures further put everything under vulnerable state for the upcoming disasters. Therefore, making recovery a more complex but a crucial step.
Physical access to primary health care is disrupted due to restricted mobility and due to inundation of flood and COVID-19 pandemic. The survey shows that 73% of the affected unions suffered from disrupted health care services, therefore, increasing the risk of mortality, morbidity, lack of nutrition (where 75 union reported compromised nutrition care) which may escalate epidemic.
Flood damage puts added distress on vulnerable (e.g. pregnant women, adolescent girls, children, elderly people, person with disability etc.) and marginalized groups and on their safety and security. Loss of home, restricted movement, lack of privacy, inaccessibility and disrupted services, transportation and communication create prolonged distress on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH), Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Child Protection. Primary data shows that health care services and antenatal and neonatal care services have been disrupted in 251 (75%) and 215 (64%) unions respectively.
Livelihood/income generating activities, functioning of local markets, crops, livestock and fisheries have been severely affected in most of the flood affected areas causing high dependency on relief, which leads to the possibility of increased food insecurity. As per data, 80% of the unions reported irregular food consumption and complication in food preparation. Concern related to physical, emotional and social suffering of the affected community has also been focused in this assessment. Fear of uncertainty have been reported from 87% union while people from 60% union have the feeling of insecurity and psychological depression or trauma leading them to get involved in disrespectful work. An estimated 1,902 schools damaged due to flood coupled with COVID-19, leads to lack of continuation of education, which increases the chance of school drop-outs.
The ongoing monsoon floods severely comprises the need for safe drinking water and safe hygiene practices. Out of the affected districts, 7 Districts are out of safe drinking water, 81,179 latrines and 73,343 tube-wells are damaged and destroyed. Approximately 93% of the sanitation facility is disrupted. Therefore, increasing the risk of water borne disease, infection and COVID-19 spread.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) Government of Bangladesh in anticipation of the monsoon flood 2020, took all possible precaution to limit the loss of lives and livelihoods along with coordinated efforts from the relevant government and non-government stakeholders. The emergency response was different from previous years because of implementing early forecast mechanism (T-10 early action) which supported in early preparedness and action to support towards emergency life savings humanitarian assistance including, cash, dignity items etc.
To support impacted communities the GoB has already mobilized resources.
An early to medium-term (05 to 09 months) early recovery and reconstruction effort will be needed to repair the damaged infrastructures specially embankments, dykes, houses, safe drinking water sources, sanitation facilities etc. for restoration of life and livelihood, rehabilitation of agricultural lands and ensuring continuous efforts of recovery in doing so.