Office of the UN Resident Coordinator – Situation Update No. 02 - Bangladesh | 2019 Monsoon Floods


1. Monsoon Floods Overview (July 2019)

According to today’s weather forecast from Bangladesh’s Meteorological Department (BMD), all major rivers may fall in next 48 hours except the Ganges river. Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) informs that the rainy season will remain fairly active over the country and moderate to strong over the North Bay of Bengal. FFWC forecasts that light to moderate rain/thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty wind is likely to occur over Khulna, Barishal, Sylhet & Chattogram divisions and at some places over Rangpur, Rajshahi, Dhaka & Mymensingh divisions with moderately heavy falls at isolated places over the country. The Meteorological Department of India forecasts heavy rains in North and NorthEastern areas of India including Assam, West Bengal, and Meghalaya. The upstream water flow might aggravate the floods situation in the North/North-Easter parts of Bangladesh. Water was still flowing above the danger level at 18 points of the 93 points being observed by the FFWC.

2. Highlights

The Joint Needs Assessment Working Group (NAWG) co-led by CARE and MoDMR’s Department of Disaster Management (DDM) conducted a Joint Needs Assessment (JNA) of the flood situation based on the information from the MoDMR’s National Disaster Response Coordination Centre (NDRCC). According to the draft assessment report, 7.3 million people are directly affected by the monsoon floods throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of houses were damaged or destroyed (583,402). An estimated number of 307,646 people were displaced between 10-24 July 2019.

Moreover, access to education is extremely limited for 400,000 children in 2,500 Government primary schools1 which are either damaged or used as flood shelters. In those schools, classes are suspended, and children lost their education and learning materials to the floods. Considering that the monsoon is not over yet, the risk of children dropping out of school is high.

According to today’s situation report of the Health Emergency Operation Centre and Control Room of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), the death toll from drowning, snake-bites, lightnings and other factors reached 119. Between 10 July to 24 July 2019, it recorded a total of 14,781 medical cases including: 5,571 diarrhea cases, 1,610 pneumonia cases, 1,905 cases of skin diseases, 479 cases of eye infections, 56 cases of non-lethal snake-bites, 23 cases of near to drowning, 8 cases of wounds due to lightning strikes, 434 cases of injury and 4,695 other cases. Moreover, five (5) Upazilla Health Complexes and 204 community clinics were inundated/damaged.

The Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) estimates that 73,016 tube wells are damaged, and that more than 100,000 latrines are destroyed. Due to that situation, there is a high risk of water-related diseases and infections for most-at-risk and most affected populations.

The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) estimates that 138,588 hectares of land used for growing crops are damaged including 78,803 hectares of crops. A total of 618,748 farmers are directly impacted. The agriculture loss is estimated to reach 9,482 million BDT (US$ 112 million). The Department of Livestock Service estimates the loss of livestock and poultry to reach 7042.12 million BDT (US$ 83 million).

NDRCC estimated that the floods damaged and destroyed vital infrastructures including 6,641 kilometers of roads, 1,275 bridges and culverts as well as 1,515 kilometers of embankments. The JNA identified the nine (9) most severely affected districts: Jamalpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Sylhet, Sirajganj, Tangail, Sunamganj, Bogra, Bandarban. In those districts, 85% of the overall displacement occurred (261,499). In these districts, 57,406 (29,407 boys and 28,002 girls) school age children have been displaced. Among the displaced population, 239,387 persons are still living in makeshift shelters (schools, colleges) or on embankments and few returned as water started receding in their areas. Associated riverbank erosion has permanently displaced more than 8,000 people equivalent to 1,654 households in Kurigram, Bogura and Tangail districts.

3. On-going response

The National Disaster Response Coordination Centre (NDRCC) is working together with BMD and FFWC to provide timely flood forecasts, weather updates and to facilitate decision-making processes vis-à-vis the allocation of relief assistance by the MoDMR. The MoDMR is disseminating the warnings and the operational directives via the media (TV and radio) and it guides preparedness and response efforts. The Government-led response is implemented in the affected districts through Local Disaster Management Committees. The MoDMR’s response consists in the allocations of rice, cash, children food, dry food, tents, corrugated iron sheets, housing grants and fodder. MoDMR State Minister and Senior officials are visiting the affected communities and district authorities to ensure a strong coordination of the response. The National Health Emergency Operations Centre and Control Room under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is monitoring the flood situation. More than 2,450 Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) are working to respond and to prevent health issues using pre-positioned stocks of emergency drugs. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) initiated a 21.23 million BDT worth recovery program for 32,121 farmers to prepare seedbed and seedling in ten (10) districts. The Department of Livestock Services (DLS) vaccinated 127,057 livestock and 388,176 poultry. Immediate treatment of 65,977 livestock and 295,701 poultry was also provided.

IFRC allocated 500,000 CHF to support BDRCS in its relief operations. Many national and international NGOs are supporting the national efforts including: CRS, BRAC, TDH, Friendship, GUK, MJSKS, SKS, Solidarites, MMS, ASOD, NDP, CARE, Concern Worldwide, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, Aid Comilla, HelpAge, ActionAid, Caritas Bangladesh, World Vision, United Purpose, Save, Habitat for Humanity, Plan Bangladesh, Oxfam, DAM and BNKS. Their support is notably funded by the allocations made by Start Fund Bangladesh amounting to £1,000,000 for relief operations in Sirajganj, Jamalpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bandarban and Bogra. ECHO, DFID and USAID activated its emergency tool box for the response.

United Nations Agencies are also supporting the response. In coordination with the Government, WFP and German Red Cross (GRC) activated Forecast-based Financing (FbF) early actions operations in Kurigram and Gaibandha in support of 5,910 households (HH). WFP provided 193.9 metric tons of High Energy Biscuits to 51,707 households in three districts (Kurigram, Gaibandha and Jamalpur). UNICEF provided 7.5 million water purification tablets (WPT) which DPHE is distributing to affected communities. UNICEF also provided 10,000 hygiene kits, 20,000 jerry cans and 2 mobile water treatment plants. UNICEF reached 25,000 severely affected people with critical lifesaving messages through community volunteers. It prepositioned 370 Emergency Recreation Kits, 1,278 Education in Emergency (EiE) kits and 200 Tarpaulins to be used for 100,000 affected people. Therapeutic milk supplies were also provided through the Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN) to ensure the treatment of Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM). WHO is providing support to District Civil Surgeon Offices in disease surveillance and coordination activities. Health cluster partners are also supplementing the response interventions of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. WHO is procuring notably 5,000 anti-snake venoms to supplement government health service efforts. FAO is supporting the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (MoLF) for situation monitoring, damage assessment and technical support. UNFPA has provided 3,500 dignity kits in support of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) for the provision of menstrual hygiene supports for adolescents’ girls in temporary shelters and, psychosocial support for the wellbeing of children and their caregivers.

4. Humanitarian Coordination

The Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT) met on 28 July 2019 to share the outcomes of the draft JNA. The JNA report will now be finalized following the triangulation of information between cluster/working group coordinators, communities and national government counterpart organizations. During the discussions and given the support being provided or planned by the humanitarian community to the GoB-led response, there was consensus on the needs to strengthen the coordination of that support in order to complement better the GoB-led response and to be able to report on progress to the MoDMR. An inter-cluster meeting will take place on 30 July 2019 to prepare, based on a prioritization process, a common humanitarian plan inclusive of a recovery phase in support of the GoB-led response. Development Partners (DP) representatives are encouraged to inform partners on possible funding opportunities that could be made available at a given point in time in order to plan for and to prioritize possible interventions, which would respond to time critical needs.

Next update will be provided based on the evolving situation

Presentation made at the HCTT is available here.

For more information, contact:

Henry Glorieux, Humanitarian Affairs Advisor,

Kazi Shahidur Rahman, Humanitarian Affairs Specialist,