CARE appeals for $1.5 million for South Asia floods

Report
from CARE
Published on 05 Aug 2004
Canadian CARE aid worker in Bangladesh available for telephone interviews
Bangladesh - CARE is appealing for $1.5 million to provide both immediate and long-term assistance to help the millions of people displaced from the worst monsoon rains in 15 years in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. The money will go to the immediate needs for food, shelter and clean water, help people recover their ability to earn a living once the heavy rains cease, and support CARE's continued work on flood proofing, disaster preparedness and mitigation.

"I visited one of several shelters today in Bangladesh where CARE is providing food and medicines to more than 1,500 families," said Jesse Moore, director of development for CARE Canada. "There were more than 75 pregnant mothers in this one shelter alone. They have nothing. Their homes have been destroyed. Before coming to the shelter, they were drinking contaminated water, fighting the outbreaks of dysentery, struggling to find food to eat - all this while eight, nine months pregnant.

"This is the most devastating monsoon season in 15 years, and it's getting worse. Even staff from our Bangladesh office are contributing a portion of their wages to help the people affected by the crisis."

More than 60 million people in the region have been affected by the floods, with extraordinarily heavy rains killing more than 1,000 people. Millions of people are cut off from shelter and basic relief supplies such as food and clean drinking water. Water-borne disease, such as diarrhoea, dysentery, influenza and respiratory, skin and viral infections are on the rise as stranded people drink from contaminated, standing water. Most of these people have lost their homes, livestock and crops to the rains.

The situation is most acute in Bangladesh, where 65 percent of the country is under water. The government's disaster management officials report that crop and property losses are valued at $7 billion, 2.8 million homes have been partially or completely damaged and more than 1.6 million people are living in shelters.

CARE is distributing survival food and medical kits, purified water, plastic sheeting and high protein biscuits to more than half a million people in the stricken countries, but there is still an acute need for oral rehydration salts and water purification tablets, which are in short supply. CARE is also providing health and nutrition services to children and pregnant mothers and plans to support flood survivors by helping to rebuild houses, and distributing seeds, tools and basic medical supplies after the floods recede.

About CARE: CARE is one of the world's leading humanitarian organizations fighting global poverty. In more than 70 developing countries, CARE helps poor communities create lasting solutions to their most threatening problems. CARE's integrated projects include emergency relief, preparedness and mitigation, community rehabilitation and longer-term projects in areas such as education, health and small-business development.

Media contact:

Melanie Brooks, Communications (Ottawa)
office: 613.228.5678 cell: 613.799.7562 e-mail: melanie@care.ca

Jesse Moore, CARE Canada Director of Development, can be reached in Bangladesh at: hotel phone: 880-2-988-2216 or 880-2-988-7370, room number 503 e-mail: jesse@care.ca