CRWRC responds to floods in Southeast Asia

from Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
Published on 19 Aug 2004
In southeast Asia, the monsoon winds have brought the seasonal rain, and the rain has brought floods.

"Bangladesh floods every year, but this year has been especially bad, and way earlier than normal," says Alana Strong, a CRWRC staffperson in Bangladesh. "The waters are knee to thigh high in many areas, including parts of the capital where I live."

In fact, this year's monsoon season is the worst that the region has seen in six years. The floods have covered 60% of Bangladesh and large portions of northeastern India. The waters have already destroyed crops, contaminated drinking water, and flooded homes. Experts estimate that as a result of this damage, more than 20 million people will need food aid over the next 5 months.

Strong explains the situation by saying, "The rising water mixed the sewer water with drinking water, making it thick and black and causing massive outbreaks of dysentery, and typhoid. The floods have also forced people out of their homes, ruined food supplies, disrupted garbage collection, and bred more mosquitoes, adding to the dengue issues Dhaka already had."

CRWRC in Bangladesh has provided USD$10,000 to PARI Development Trust for food and medicine for 3,000 flood-affected households in a rural area. In addition, CRWRC partner Sathi has received USD$9,500 to provide food and medicine to 1,400 households in the urban slums of Dhaka. At one point, one third of Dhaka was under water. A final project has been approved for CRWRC partner PROTTASHA to provide food to 1,500 flood-affected households in another rural area. As of mid-August thousands were still homeless and thousands more suffering from diarrhoeal disease as the floodwaters began to recede, however there is concern about ongoing monsoon rains and high tides that may lead to another wave of serious flooding in late August, early September.

CRWRC in India is in the final stages of preparation of an emergency food project in collaboration with our partner, EFICOR. This project targets 10,000 families in four of the most flood-affected districts of Bihar province in north eastern India. This project will provide food through a CFGB local purchase initiative to families who have been driven from their homes. Overall, more than 30 million people have been affected by unusual flooding in India and Bangladesh since mid-July. CRWRC is closely monitoring the situation in both countries.

"It is sad to see so many people in desperate circumstances, but exciting and encouraging to be in a position to bring help, delivering food and drinking water," says Strong.

If you would like to contribute to CRWRC's response in Southeast Asia, please contact us or send in your gift marked "Bangladesh/India floods."