Key Immediate Needs and Preliminary Impact Assessment: North Eastern Flash Flood, May 2022, Bangladesh


Executive Summary

The northeast part of Bangladesh experienced a flash flood that started on the week of 15 May 2022. The intensity of the flood increased on 18 May 2022 as the major river ‘Surma’ and ‘Kusiara’ started to overflown 140 cm above the danger level. Alongside that, heavy rainfall in that areas and northeastern Indian states was the main cause of this flood. The Sylhet meteorically meteorological department stated that the continuous rain was an effect of Cyclone Asani. It has taken effect among 2 million people across five districts - Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Netrokona, and Maulvibazar, while Sylhet and Sunamganj were affected most severely. In this flood, around 418,546 people were exposed to inundated inundation, as projected by the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Services (CEMS). Moreover, around 4 million people, including 40% children were affected in this flood. It is also estimated that over 1.5 million children were are at risk of waterborne diseases, drowning, and malnutrition due to extensive flood water. Their woes coupled with 1.50,000 lakh families in Sylhet and Sunamganj had been living without power for three a few days since 17 May 2022. Also, most of these areas were affected by the April 2022 early flash flood. Notably, many areas of Sylhet city including the Shahjalal Upashahar, Misimpur, Sobhanighat, Teroratan, Kalighat, Chhararpar, Sheikhghat, Kazirbazar, Taltola, Kushighat, Mendibag, etc. went underwater. and Ddue to poor drainage facilities, in some areas water got clogged and spread odor now.

Agricultural lands have been reported to inundate mostly damaging major cash crop of Boro, Aus and Aman. Hectares of summer vegetable, nuts and fruits land were also damaged. Daily life has been severely disrupted due to inundated tube wells and toilets. In addition, the flood has damaged crops, summer vegetation, tube wells, and toilets. Many affected people, took shelter outside, mostly at schools and relatives’ houses as there was damage to flood shelters. The assessment has identified the need for repairing and maintenance support for flood shelter as a priority needs in 11 assessed unions (out of 224). Besides, a significant number of affected people are now without access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, which increases the chance of communicable disease outbreaks. Likewise, in the last 9 days (18-26 May 2022), National Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) and Control Room have recorded a total of 469 Cases (349 from Acute Watery Diarrhoea, 32 from Skin Diseases, 14 from ARI, 10 from Lightning, 09 near to drowning and 55 from others).

Furthermore, the preliminary assessment indicates that 21 unions in Sylhet (representing 20% of assessed unions) and 12 unions in Sunamganj (15% of assessed unions) reported that over 40% of the population are displaced due to the flooding. This displacement, alongside other factors of the affected population, has affected population contributed to many areas such as child protection, nutrition, gender-based violence, health, education, and livelihood-related issues. Out of 733,506-hectare agriculture land, 17,760 Hectare crops are affected by the flood. Sunamgonj is an IPC level 4 district and previously affected by the April 2022 early flash flood.

The GoB has mobilized resources to support affected communities. Assistance consists of – cash grants, rice, dry food packages, water-purification tablet and disinfection of tubewells, preparation of flood shelters, and mobile medical teams. In addition to it, different non-government agencies provided and has planned to provide support to the affected communities with cooked food, multipurpose cash grants, safe drinking water and jerry can, and hygiene parcels. Additionally, a coordinated humanitarian response will be needed to supplement these efforts, primary to ensure that the most vulnerable communities receive targeted humanitarian assistance. Analysis of this assessment looked at identifying risks of vulnerable populations due to their geographical and socio-economic conditions. Also, the responses provided by different NGOs are mostly from internal funding mechanisms. Apart from START Fund Bangladesh, any institutional donors have yet to respond.

A medium to longer-term (06 to 12 months) early recovery and reconstruction effort will be needed to repair of damaged houses, embankments, roads, sources of safe drinking water, sanitation facilities. Restoration of livelihood with specific support to farmers who got affected by the flood should prioritized.

The survey findings show most of the flood-affected communities are facing a scarcity of basic services and experiencing distress in terms of physical, social, and emotional aspects. The distress-driven needs are ranked as Key Immediate Needs (KIN) which were prioritized according to their ranked value. Based on this prioritization from the survey regarding the of immediate needs of the basic key services, the following related sectors were prioritized according to Sphere Handbook: WASH (drinking water supply), FSL (food package – rice, lentils, oil, etc.), Shelter (repair and maintenance of shelter), cash grant (as livelihood) and health. These overall losses will disproportionately impact on women, children, especially girls, children, and other vulnerable groups.

Besides, using a composite index (contextualizing INFORM Risk Index) the composite impact vulnerability and response capacity analyzed top ten (10) priority geographic areas (upazilas) have been identified, which are – Zakiganj, Dowarabazar, Gowainghat, Chhatak, Jaintapur, Companiganj, Shantiganj Dakshin Sunamganj, Dakshin Surma, Kalmakanda, and Bishwambarpur.

Notably, many areas of Sylhet city including the Shahjalal Upashahar, Misimpur, Sobhanighat, Teroratan, Kalighat, Chhararpar, Sheikhghat, Kazirbazar, Taltola, Kushighat, Mendibag, etc. went underwater. Due to poor drainage facilities, in some areas water got clogged and spread odor now. This has added a new dimension to the flood’s impact on the city dwellers.

Kindly note, the floodwater has already receded or has been receding from the affected areas, however, it dented the lives and livelihood of the people. It has also been predicted that this year’s monsoon will arrive earlier than usual, which may contribute to the woes of the people’s suffering. Long-term impact on the livelihood and food security of people is predicted.