DHAKA, 23 May 2022 – Over 1.5 million children are at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition due to extensive flooding in north-eastern Bangladesh. UNICEF is on the ground with Government and non-government partners to respond to the urgent safety, health, nutrition, clean water and education needs of children and their families.
Over four million people in five districts of north-eastern Bangladesh – Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Netrokona and Maulvibazar – are affected by extensive flooding. Sylhet and Sunamganj have been most affected, with water flowing above dangerous levels. Agricultural land and critical infrastructure, including power stations and schools, have been submerged.
Cases of diarrhoea, respiratory infection, and skin diseases have already been reported. At least three children have died after being struck by lightning.
Hundreds of schools have been closed, further jeopardizing the education of children. After 18 months of pandemic school closures in the last few years, children are once again missing out on learning.
“The damage to lives, homes and schools is heartbreaking. In this disaster, as in most others, children are the most vulnerable," said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh. "UNICEF is on the ground to protect children and to meet their urgent needs, supporting the Government and working closely with our local partners."
UNICEF is supporting the Government of Bangladesh’s flood response by supplying clean water, hygiene kits, therapeutic milk and learning kits. UNICEF also works closely with the Department of Social Services to ensure that social workers stand ready to protect the safety and security of children. Raising awareness about drowning prevention in communities is at the centre of the response.