Bangladesh + 4 more

South and Southeast Asia - Floods Fact Sheet #2, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Situation Report
Originally published

Note: Underlined text denotes information that is new since the fact sheet was last released.


Early, prolonged, and heavy monsoons since July have caused extensive flooding in much of South and Southeast Asia. In particular, the floodwaters have impacted areas of western Bangladesh and northern and northeastern India, and the Mekong River Basin area in Southeast Asia. Flooding in Bangladesh and India was exacerbated by poor drainage and the release of water from dams and reservoirs in India.

Official reports estimate that the seasonal monsoons have affected more than thirty-five million people, displaced hundreds of thousands, killed over two thousand, and extensively damaged agriculture, infrastructure, and personal property.

The recent monsoons have generated what is being described as the worst flooding in sixty years for Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, forty years for Cambodia, thirty-five years for Laos, and in a century for western Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.

Total U.S. Government humanitarian assistance in FY 2000 and FY 2001 for the current flood disaster totals $8,117,289. Of this assistance, USAID/OFDA has provided $3,607,204 for the provision of relief commodities and funding to support appeals and grants that address humanitarian needs in the following sectors: water/sanitation, health, food, agriculture, shelter, emergency household supplies, and transportation. USAID/Food for Peace (FFP) has provided more than 9,400 metric tons (MT) of emergency food assistance valued at $4,310,085. In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) transported USAID/OFDA relief commodities to Vietnam at an approximate cost of $200,000.

Current Situation


On October 28, a tropical depression swept over Bangladesh, causing further flooding. The tropical depression killed another 26 people, destroyed thousands of more homes, and temporarily disrupted the power supply in many areas.

Flooding in Bangladesh has most severely impacted the districts of Magura, Satkhira, Jessore, Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga, and Jhenaidah.

Floodwaters have receded in the northernmost affected districts, improving conditions in Chuadanga, Jessore, and Jhenaidah and allowing displaced persons to return home.

In Satkhira district the floodwaters have not receded due to inadequate drainage, river siltation, and high tide levels.

As of November 2, the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka reports that 130 people have been killed and more than three million people have been affected as a result of flooding this monsoon season. The floodwaters also have damaged more than 200,000 houses, several roads (including major trade routes to India), shrimp cultivation ponds, and personal property such as household items, food supplies, seeds, and livestock. Field assessments by CARE report that the floodwaters have damaged more than 174,000 hectares of rice and subsidiary crops. In addition, floodwaters have inundated and widely contaminated tube wells, the main source of drinking water in the affected areas.

The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) initiated search and rescue operations, provided logistical expertise and support to non-governmental organization (NGO) relief operations, and distributed emergency food. The GOB plans to provide nearly $6 million to establish an emergency fund to assist the agricultural sector, rehabilitate tube wells, and introduce an emergency food program for victims of the floods.

The GOB has allocated approximately 13,000 MT of rice for distribution to flood-affected people. In addition, the GOB has allocated 11,000 MT of rice for a vulnerable feeding program, which will provide each recipient family with 10 kg of uncooked rice per month for two months. The World Food Program (WFP) will procure and distribute 230 MT of biscuits to flood victims.


As of October 25, the National Committee for Disaster Management reports that the floods have killed 333 people and affected 3,448,629 million people along the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers in central and southern Cambodia. Furthermore, the Committee reports that 21 provinces and some 131 districts have experienced flooding.

The worst-affected provinces are those located in the southeast region, namely Kandal, Kompong Cham, Prey Veng, Takeo, and Svey Rieng.

While the floodwaters are receding in some areas, flash floods occurred recently in the provinces of Kampong, Speu, Kandal, Pursat and the municipality of Phnom Penh.

According to the National Committee for Disaster Management, approximately 84,000 families or 387,365 people have evacuated to higher ground since July. Most of these people remain displaced; however, some families are attempting to return home as floodwaters recede.

The Royal Government of Cambodia estimates the total cost of rehabilitation and reconstruction at $97 million. According to the government, agricultural loss is significant, with approximately 142,918 hectares of rice and subsidiary crops destroyed.

The Ministry of Health estimates that approximately 132 health centers and referral hospitals will need to be rehabilitated.

Preliminary assessments undertaken by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports indicate that damage to schools and classrooms has interrupted the start of the educational year for at least 500,000 primary and secondary students.

Because the floods damaged some water infrastructure, access to drinking water and water sources remains limited. The U.N. Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) advises an increased risk of epidemic diseases, since water is receding slowly and creating optimal conditions for waterborne diseases. As a precautionary measure, the Ministry of Health has undertaken a massive campaign to purchase oral re-hydration salts, Vitamin A, aluminium sulphate, and chloramine tablets and to train volunteers on the dispensation of these medicaments. Furthermore, the government and relief organizations have placed large water tanks at strategic locations along national routes to provide potable water to the affected population.

The Royal Government of Cambodia, which is coordinating the relief operation, has requested urgent international assistance. Based upon assessments by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the American Red Cross (ARC) and the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC), IFRC launched an emergency appeal on September 13 for a multi-donor disaster response effort to provide relief to approximately 500,000 beneficiaries for nine months. This appeal has been fully funded, and IFRC is now in the process of procuring and distributing relief supplies.

The UNDMT has launched an inter-agency appeal for $10.7 million to provide emergency relief and to support rehabilitation activities in the provinces devastated by flooding. WFP has provided 800 MT of rice to 16,000 flood-affected families and plans to provide another 15,315 MT of food assistance to 865,000 beneficiaries to help meet emergency needs and restore livelihoods through food-for-work programs.


Heavy rainfall in the upper tributary catchments of the Kosi and Bhramaputra rivers caused a preliminary wave of severe flooding in Assam and Bihar provinces in northern India during July and August.

The Government of India (GOI) reports that 3.6 million people in 18 districts of Assam were affected while 6.8 million people from 31 districts of Bihar were affected by the flooding. The GOI also reports that damage to agricultural land amounted to 224,252 hectares in Assam and 268,000 hectares in Bihar.

Furthermore, the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) reports that hundreds of people were killed, tens of thousands of houses were affected, and transportation and communication linkages were disrupted in both Bihar and Assam.

Monsoons in September led to a second wave of flooding in the provinces of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, and in the city of Hydrabhad. Particularly heavy monsoon rains from September 17-21, exacerbated by the release of water from swelling dams, significantly affected eastern India, most notably West Bengal.

As of October 24, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that 68 municipalities in West Bengal have been affected, with 1,262 persons killed, more than 18 million people affected, over 4 million people evacuated, and some 21,484 relief centers established. In addition, UNICEF reports that 1,886,976 houses, 2,375,636 hectares of cropland, and 8,187 primary schools are either damaged or destroyed. Furthermore, UNICEF reports that 1,345 health facilities and 3,240 km of national and state highways and district roads are damaged while over 450 km of railway are destroyed. Flooding in West Bengal also significantly impacted the livestock industry in West Bengal, killing cattle, goats, sheep, and poultry.

According to the Government of India, economic losses from the flooding in West Bengal amount to $1.2 billion. As of October 24, the Government of West Bengal had requested $325 million from the central government for relief and recovery assistance, and had received $69 million.

In response to the flooding, the GOI has conducted preliminary assessments of affected areas, established relief camps, and undertaken search and rescue operations. The GOI used military assets to distribute medicine, emergency food assistance, and other relief supplies. The Government of West Bengal has dug tube wells, formed emergency health teams, and supplied relief commodities such as emergency food, potable water, plastic sheeting, and health items. Unaffected provinces also are rallying to the aid of West Bengal.

Throughout India, as floodwaters recede, many people are attempting to return to their homes. However, as of mid-October, hundreds of villages in the flood-affected regions were still submerged or isolated and millions of people who lost their homes continued to live in makeshift shelters where potable water and food were in short supply and sanitation facilities were largely inadequate.


In mid-August, Typhoon Keimi swept through southern Laos resulting in flooding in three districts of Saravanne Province. As Laos was coping with the August rain, Typhoon Wukong hit central and southern Laos in early September, affecting Borikhamky, Khammouane, Savannakhet, Saravanne, and Champasack provinces.

The U.S Embassy in Vientiane reports that the floods have affected more than 1,000 villages and approximately 400,000 people. Nine deaths have been reported to date, with minimal damage to personal property and food stocks due to the slow rise of floodwaters.

However, WFP reports that the floodwaters have destroyed about 180,000 MT of rice or more than eight percent of the total rice crop. In response to an emergency operation approved in October, WFP purchased 520 MT of rice for distribution to 17,000 flood-affected people. A revised emergency operation, approved in November, permits WFP to distribute 8,160 MT of food to 103,000 people.

Although floodwaters are receding, some stagnant pools remain. The U.S. Embassy also reports that contaminated water is a critical problem and the Ministry of Health has warned that there is an increased risk of waterborne diseases in affected villages.

The Government of Laos has established a National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) supported by CONCERN to respond to the continuing needs of the affected population. The NDMO has met with donors to outline short- and medium-term needs. The IFRC reports that the WFP is chairing NGO and donor coordination meetings. In addition, the NDMO has collaborated with the Ministry of Health to coordinate health strategies.


The three most affected provinces are Long An, Dong Thap, and An Giang. However, less severe flooding also has occurred in Kien Giang, Tien Giang, Can Tho, and Vinh Long provinces.

On September 23, the floodwater level peaked at nearly five meters and has been falling since at an average rate of three centimeters per day. Nevertheless, water from the Mekong River still submerges several thousand houses, forcing evacuated families to remain displaced for at least one more month.

As of October 27, IFRC reports that floodwaters resulted in 417 deaths, 5 million people affected, 47,707 houses evacuated, 828,007 houses affected, 3,300 houses destroyed, 2,665 classrooms damaged, 828,320 school children unable to begin class, and 365 clinics damaged.

As of mid-October, the UNDP reported that the flooding had affected 10,000 kilometers of road, 13,000 bridges, thousands of handicraft factories, and 163,500 hectares of rice and subsidiary crops.

The Government of Vietnam (GVN) estimates that damages total $236 million. The GVN has pledged approximately $2.5 million in government assistance to fund relocations, emergency food, and medical care. The U.N. launched an inter-agency appeal on October 20 for $9.4 million to provide emergency assistance and rehabilitation support. WFP is working with the Vietnamese Red Cross to distribute 945 MT of rice to approximately 91,000 beneficiaries.

U.S. Government Response


On October 4, U. S. Ambassador Mary Ann Peters issued a disaster declaration in response to severe flooding in western Bangladesh. In response, USAID/OFDA provided $25,000 through the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka to CARE in support of a program to provide emergency food assistance and potable water to flood victims.

On October 11, an airlift of USAID/OFDA-funded relief commodities arrived in Dhaka. The airlift included 10 Zodiac boats, 160 rolls of plastic sheeting, two large-capacity water purification units, and 10,000 collapsible five-gallon water jugs. The cost to procure and transport these commodities was approximately $419,120.

A USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor visited Bangladesh in mid-October to consult with USAID/Dhaka staff who conducted damage and needs assessments following OFDA’s initial response. Based on the recommendations of these assessments, USAID/OFDA provided $600,000 through USAID/Dhaka to CARE and World Vision to support emergency food assistance to 70,000 severely affected families.

As of November 2, CARE had completed distribution of food packets to 50,000 families in Damurhuda, Moheshpur, Sarsa, Kalaroa, and Kesabpur subdistricts and World Vision had completed distribution of food packets to 23,000 families in Satkhira, Sadar, and Debhata subdistricts.

Two USAID/OFDA water purification units sent to Bangladesh in 1998 and maintained by CARE are being used to provide drinking water to affected populations. As of November 2, CARE had provided nearly 1.5 million liters of drinking water to approximately 52,000 families using USAID/OFDA’s water treatment units.

In addition, USAID/FFP redirected food assistance, valued at $150,000, from its P.L. 480 Title II program to 35,000 flood-affected families.


On August 1, U.S. Ambassador Kent M. Wiedemann issued a disaster declaration for flooding in the southern provinces in Cambodia. In response, USAID/OFDA provided $25,000 through the U.S. Embassy to the ARC for the purchase and distribution of emergency household kits.

Continued flooding and deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the northern, eastern, and southern provinces led Ambassador Wiedemann to issue a second disaster declaration on September 5. In response to the second disaster declaration, USAID/OFDA provided $25,000 through the U.S. Embassy to the ARC to meet the immediate needs of flood-affected families.

Additionally, on September 20, in response to an IFRC appeal, USAID/OFDA provided an additional $302,704 to the ARC for the purchase and distribution of emergency household kits.

Following an assessment by USAID/OFDA’s Senior Regional Advisor, USAID/OFDA provided $361,495 through the U.S. Embassy to four NGOs on October 10 to support a fast-yield rice seed intervention to allow farmers to take advantage of receding flood waters.

USAID/FFP plans to provide 2,960 MT of Title II food commodities, valued at $1.3 million, to WFP for distribution to flood affected areas in 18 provinces located along the Mekong River.

In 1999, USAID/OFDA began funding a joint ARC, Cambodian Red Cross (CRC), and IFRC disaster preparedness program to develop community-based systems and capacities for responding to disasters. The program will develop CRC’s capacity to successfully implement natural disaster prevention and mitigation strategies at the community level.


On August 21, U.S. Charge d'Affaires Albert Thibault issued a disaster declaration for flooding in India. In response, USAID/OFDA provided an initial $25,000 through USAID/New Delhi to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund to help meet the immediate needs of those most affected by the floods.

A USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor participated in an assessment conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross from August 20-22.

In early September, USAID/OFDA provided $111,600 to the ARC for the purchase and distribution of family packets to 30,000 beneficiaries.

USAID/OFDA also dispatched 160 rolls of plastic sheeting, four water purification units, and 10 Zodiac boats for consignment to the Indian Red Cross. The cost for the purchase and transport of these commodities totaled $381,340. The commodities arrived in India on September 3. After the floodwaters subside, the Zodiac boats and water purification units will remain with the Indian Red Cross for use as part of the response to future flood emergencies.

On September 27, USAID/OFDA provided another $25,000 through USAID/New Delhi to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund to further support national relief efforts.

On October 13, USAID/OFDA provided an additional $500,000 through USAID/New Delhi to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to purchase and distribute food and non-food assistance to the affected population in West Bengal, India. This funding complements grant assistance from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.

On October 24, USAID/OFDA provided an additional $183,800 through USAID/New Delhi to World Vision in support of the Bengal Emergency Operation Program, which aims to meet the short-term food needs and health security of 12,000 flood-affected families.

In addition to USAID/OFDA assistance, CARE and CRS will distribute 5,400 MT of Title II food commodities, valued at $2.4 million, being redirected from USAID/FFP’s regular government-to-government program to flood victims.

USAID/New Delhi’s FFP office also will redirect the following assistance: 500 MT (valued at $233,385) to CRS for distribution in Assam, 150 MT (valued at $69,725) to CRS for Andhra Pradesh, and 390 MT (valued at $156,975) to CARE for Uttar Pradesh.


On October 3, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Karen B. Stewart issued a disaster declaration in response to flooding throughout the central and southern regions of Laos. In response, USAID/OFDA provided $25,000 to the U.S. Embassy in support of flood relief efforts in Laos.

On October 26, USAID/OFDA provided $99,500 through the U.S. Embassy to CARE for the provision of rice seeds to 4,000 flood-affected households in Khammouane and Savannakhet provinces.


On September 15, U.S. Ambassador Douglas B. Peterson issued a disaster declaration for flooding in southeastern Vietnam. USAID/OFDA responded to the disaster declaration by providing $25,000 through the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi to the IFRC to meet the immediate needs of affected families in the Mekong Delta area. The IFRC used this funding in joint efforts with the Vietnam Red Cross to provide food, shelter materials, cooking utensils, personal hygiene items, and potable water to flood victims.

Following additional flooding, on September 26, USAID/OFDA provided a $216,160 to the IFRC to purchase and distribute 3,500 emergency kits and 3,000 fishing nets to replace lost household assets. The funding also will be used to purchase three motorized boats to assist the local Red Cross in search and rescue efforts and the delivery of relief supplies.

USAID/OFDA Senior Regional Advisor traveled to Vietnam from October 11-15. Upon his recommendation, USAID/OFDA provided 13 Zodiac boats and motors, two water purification units, and 87 rolls of plastic sheeting at a cost of $214,600 to the IFRC. DOD transported the plastic sheeting and water purification units to Ho Chi Minh City on October 18 and 20 at an approximate cost of $200,000. The Zodiac boats arrived in Ho Chi Minh City via USAID/OFDA commercial airlift on October 21 at a cost of $16,885. A USAID/OFDA Disaster Specialist arrived in Hanoi October 16 to coordinate the receipt and distribution of these supplies.

Prior to the onset of this disaster, USAID/OFDA supported technical assistance programs to help the GVN build capacities to mitigate and prepare for flood disasters in vulnerable areas of Vietnam. Based on long-term, multi-donor consultations, USAID/ OFDA approved a $994,000 grant to the UNDP in late September 2000 to further support flood mitigation efforts in Vietnam. This four-year grant will focus on implementing a flood alert and early warning system and enhancing flood basin mapping.

U.S. Government Assistance

Note: The following table includes all disaster response-related expenditures, but does not include funding for mitigation and preparedness programs in flood-affected countries.

Bangladesh USAID/
CARE Emergency food assistance and potable water distribution
CARE 10 Zodiac boats, 160 rolls of plastic, two water purification units, and 10,000 water jugs
CARE & World Vision Emergency food assistance
CARE Food packets for 35,000 families
Cambodia USAID/
ARC Emergency household kits
ARC Emergency household kits
ARC Emergency household kits
CARE, World Vision, Partners for Development, and CONCERN Worldwide Provision of fast-yield rice seed and water pumps
WFP 2,960 MT emergency food assistance
India USAID/
Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund Emergency assistance
ARC Emergency household kits
Indian Red Cross 10 Zodiac Boats, 160 rolls of plastic sheeting, and 4 water purification units
Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund Emergency assistance
CRS Emergency food and non-food assistance
World Vision Food and health assistance
CARE and CRS 5,400 MT food assistance
CARE and CRS 1,040 MT food assistance
U.S. Embassy Dhaka Emergency assistance
CARE Provision of seeds
Vietnam USAID/
IFRC Emergency assistance
IFRC Emergency food, shelter materials, water/sanitation assistance, and health activities
IFRC 3,500 emergency household kits, 3,000 fishing nets, and three motorized boats
IFRC 13 Zodiac boats, two water purification units, and 87 rolls of plastic sheeting
DOD IFRC Transport of commodities
*This figure includes $25,000 provided by USAID/OFDA on August 4, 2000 in response to a separate, cyclone-related flood disaster in central Vietnam.