CHF 262,770 (USD 320,870 or EUR 223,470) has been allocated from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) deliver immediate assistance to some 25,000 beneficiaries affected by floods. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.
Over the past few days a considerable number of districts in Bangladesh have reportedly flooded, with Cox’s Bazar district badly affected. Seasonal floods were compounded by factors such as heavier rainfall; increase of tidal water level due to depression in the Bay of Bengal and overflow of water from areas upstream (the hills of India and Myanmar). Around 300,000 people in Cox's Bazar district are reported to be marooned as the flood situation deteriorated. Many people have moved to cyclone shelters and school buildings while some have sought refuge on the main roads with their families and livestock as rainwater has now entered into their houses. To date, the area has suffered a loss of ten lives due to this year’s floods.
The flood has added misery to all people, especially those living under the poverty line. The situation has paralysed the lives of many people since most of them have had to suspend livelihood activities. Daily wage earners and labourers, such as rickshaw/van pullers and agri-labourers, have not been able to work. Women, children and the elderly are major victims of waterborne disease. Household items, including cooking facilities, utensils and food stocks, are damaged adding to the misery of women already struggling to feed their families. The villages most affected by the flood are those constrained by dire poverty and seasonal unemployment. It is unlikely they will be able to rebuild their houses and return to whatever little normalcy they know without external assistance. Their living conditions will worsen even as the flood water starts to recede as this will lead to possible waterborne diseases and incidence of locally constructed mud houses collapsing.
The Government of Bangladesh responded swiftly to the situation. The government has released BDT 300,000 (CHF 3,246) cash for immediate relief for dry and cooked food to those who have taken refuge in evacuation centres and 66 tonnes of rice for the affected people.
The BDRCS Cox’s Bazar unit deployed 50 Red Crescent volunteers to evacuate people to safer places, such as schools and other public buildings. BDRCS and IFRC had a discussion with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) who has a big refugee programme in that area. In addition to some other non-food items that will be distributed among the most affected families, UNHCR has contributed to BDRCS 2,000 plastic sheets and 1,500 jerry cans for this relief response.