USAID/OFDA South Asia regional floods fact sheet #1

Report
from US Agency for International Development
Published on 20 Aug 2004
BACKGROUND

In 2004, monsoon flooding in South Asia has killed more than 1,800 people and affected more than 42 million others. In response, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided more than $8.5 million to assist flood-affected communities in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Of this total, USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) has programmed approximately $805,000 toward emergency relief activities.

USAID/OFDA also supports ongoing flood preparedness and mitigation activities in South Asia, including flood monitoring and forecasting and pre-positioning of emergency relief supplies. This assistance totals approximately $3.1 million since October 2001.

BANGLADESH - CURRENT SITUATION

Since mid-June, flooding has affected 46 of Bangladesh's 60 districts and approximately 34.8 million people. According to the Government of Bangladesh (GOB), 761 people have been killed by drowning, waterborne diseases, landslides, and other flood-related causes. An estimated 19 million others remain displaced.

The incidence of waterborne diseases, such as pneumonia, dysentery, hepatitis, and conjunctivitis, has increased in flood-affected areas. Since July 12, the GOB health directorate has recorded 110,599 diarrhea cases. The floods have also damaged 150 of Bangladesh's 317 health clinics.

According to the Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Center, the flood situation is improving countrywide. The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) has indicated, however, that food assistance will be required for 20 million people over the next 5 months due to extensive crop damage caused by the floods.

On August 12, the United Nations (U.N.) launched an appeal for $210 million for flood relief and rehabilitation. The U.N. appeal focuses on providing potable water, food, shelter, and income opportunities, as well as planning infrastructure projects in conjunction with the GOB to rebuild damaged transport and communications systems.

On July 26, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an appeal for $3.4 million to assist 1 million beneficiaries for 6 months. The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and IFRC are working closely with district branches to move people to safer ground.

USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO BANGLADESH

To date, the USG has provided more than $8.1 million in response to the floods in Bangladesh.

On July 22, the U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Gene V. George declared a disaster to meet the immediate needs of the flood-affected populations. In response, USAID/OFDA provided an initial $50,000 through USAID/Bangladesh to CARE to support transportation and logistics for CARE's emergency food distribution. CARE is also using Zodiac boats and water purification units donated by USAID/OFDA in 2000 for current flood response activities.

From August 5 to August 9, USAID/OFDA's Regional Advisor for South Asia traveled to flood-affected areas of Bangladesh to conduct assessments and coordinate with USAID/Bangladesh and local disaster relief officials.

Based upon the Regional Advisor's recommendations, USAID/OFDA is contributing $200,000 to the American Red Cross (AmRC) under the IFRC appeal for emergency relief commodities, as well as $50,000 to the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research Center, Bangladesh (ICDDRB) to support increased caseload due to waterborne disease. USAID/OFDA has also provided $50,000 to Pathfinder International for logistical support for 150 mobile health teams and the rehabilitation of flood-damaged clinics, as well as $95,000 to Save the Children/US (SCF/US) for the purchase of 2 high capacity water treatment units and associated operational costs. Each high capacity water treatment unit can support the daily potable water requirements for 10,000 people.

In addition, USAID's Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) authorized CARE to use $900,000 generated through P.L. 480 Title II development monetization to distribute emergency relief supplies in the northern and central regions. USAID/FFP is also providing 9,730 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities valued at approximately $6.6 million to WFP for distribution countrywide.

USAID/Bangladesh and World Vision Bangladesh (WVB) distributed 200 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food assistance valued at more than $100,000, as well as 7,000 survival kits, valued at nearly $120,000, to an estimated 35,000 flood-affected families in 20 sub-districts. USAID/Bangladesh also provided more than $10,000 to CARE for costs related to distribution of high-protein biscuits to more than 74,000 families in the Sylhet Region and the operation of 4 water purification units in Sylhet Region and Dhaka City.

INDIA - CURRENT SITUATION

Since mid-June, heavy monsoon rains have caused extensive flooding and landslides throughout the Indian states of Assam and Bihar, as well as in Gujarat and Punjab, killing at least 1,055 people, submerging tens of thousands of villages and affecting millions of people. The severe damage to road, power, and telecommunications networks caused by the flooding has also complicated recovery efforts.

According to IFRC, flooding in the two most severely affected states, Assam and Bihar, has killed 932 people and displaced 1.3 million people. The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) reported that the floods have damaged 510,420 houses in Bihar and 473,977 houses in Assam, and caused extensive crop damage, with 1.38 million hectares of crops affected in Bihar and 1.15 million hectares of crops affected in Assam.

According to the USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor for South Asia, the overall flood situation in Assam and Bihar improved during the week of August 9, and most rivers are now running below danger levels. As the floodwater levels decrease, however, some boats are unable to move outside of the river channel to reach interior areas. These transport difficulties, in addition to the severe damage to bridges and roads caused by the flooding, have complicated efforts to provide relief commodities to marooned communities in Assam and Bihar.

The USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor reported that no evidence of widespread outbreaks of waterborne diseases exists in Assam or Bihar. However, poor sanitation in displaced persons shelters, the slow recession of flood waters, and stagnant water have combined to create a significant health risk.

USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO INDIA

To date, the USG has provided $300,500 in response to the floods in India. In addition, USAID/OFDA and USAID/India have provided major support for disaster preparedness efforts in India since 2001, including extensive training in Incident Command Systems (ICS) to improve national management of disasters.

From July 31 to August 4, the USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor for South Asia deployed to Assam and Bihar to conduct damage assessments in coordination with USAID/India and local disaster relief officials.

On July 29, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Robert O. Blake declared a disaster due to the magnitude of damage caused by the flooding. In response to the IFRC appeal, USAID/OFDA provided $150,000 to USAID/India in support of the Indian Red Cross Society's relief efforts, including the purchase and transport of relief commodities.

Based on USAID/OFDA assessments, USAID/OFDA provided $43,000 through USAID/India to UNDP to establish a sentinel health surveillance system in collaboration with the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) in Bihar. USAID/OFDA is also providing $107,500 for the purchase and transport of 10 motorized Zodiac boats for use by the Assam and Bihar Red Cross Chapters to assist in the distribution of emergency relief supplies. USAID/OFDA previously supplied 10 Zodiac-type boats and 4 high capacity water treatment units to the Indian Red Cross in 2001 that have been very useful during the current response.

NEPAL - CURRENT SITUATION

Since early July, severe flooding and landslides in the central and southeastern regions of Nepal have resulted in the deaths of 185 people and affected more than 800,000 others in 25 of Nepal's 75 districts, according to the IFRC. The flooding has also displaced more than 37,000 families, destroyed thousands of acres of rice paddy fields, and damaged 77 bridges as well as communication systems in many areas.

The flooding has destroyed or damaged up to 68,000 houses and caused severe damage to infrastructure, including schools and roads.

On August 13, WFP reported that an assessment mission in flood-affected areas of Nepal indicated that flooding has not caused greater food insecurity. However, the impact of the floods has increased the vulnerability of the poorest segments of the population, since many families have lost all or some assets.

IFRC reported on August 11 that while water levels are receding in Nepal, the number of cases of waterborne disease and diarrhea is rising.

On July 27, the IFRC launched an appeal for more than $2.1 million to meet the urgent needs of 180,000 beneficiaries for 6 months.

USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO NEPAL

To date, the USG has provided a total of $50,000 for emergency relief in response to the floods in Nepal. Humanitarian organizations in Nepal are also responding to immediate needs with USAID/OFDA-funded emergency relief supplies that were pre-positioned before the onset of the monsoon season as part of ongoing disaster mitigation and preparedness activities.

On July 26, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal James F. Moriarty declared a disaster due to the flooding and landslides. In response to the IFRC appeal, USAID/OFDA provided $50,000 to USAID/Nepal in support of the Nepal Red Cross Society's relief efforts to purchase and transport emergency food, blankets, and shelter materials.

Note: These tables do not include pre-positioned USAID/OFDA-funded relief supplies used for the current flood response.

USG EMERGENCY FLOOD ASSISTANCE TO BANGLADESH

Implementing Partner
Activity
Location
Amount
USAID/OFDA ASSISTANCE1
CARE Transportation and logistics for emergency
food distribution
Multiple locations
$50,000
AmRC Emergency relief supplies Multiple locations
$200,000
ICDDRB Health Dhaka
$50,000
Logenix Air transport of water purifiers Multiple locations
$10,080
Pathfinder International Health, logistics Multiple locations
$50,000
SCF/US High capacity water purifiers,
operational costs
Multiple locations
$95,000
TOTAL USAID/OFDA HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
$455,0802
USAID/FFP ASSISTANCE
CARE Emergency relief supplies, operational costs Northern Central Region
$900,000
WFP 9,730 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities Countrywide
$6,568,000
TOTAL USAID/FFP HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
$7,468,000
USAID/BANGLADESH ASSISTANCE
CARE Operational costs for biscuit distribution Sylhet Region
$10,344
WVB 200 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities Bogra, Mymensingh, Faridpur, Sherpur, Netrakona, and Gazipur
$107,791
WVB Emergency relief supplies Mymensingh Sadar, Narayanganj Sadar, Madhupur, and Dhaka
$118,835
TOTAL USAID/BANGLADESH HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
$236,970
TOTAL USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO BANGLADESH
$8,160,050

1 USAID/OFDA flood preparedness and mitigation activities conducted in South Asia total approximately $3.1 million since October 2001. The Asia Disaster Preparedness Fact Sheet is located at http://www.usaid.gov/our=5Fwork/humanitarian=5Fassistance/disaster=5Fassistance.

2 USAID/OFDA funding represents committed and/or obligated amount as of August 20, 2004.

USAID/OFDA EMERGENCY FLOOD ASSISTANCE TO INDIA

Implementing Partner
Activity
Location
Amount
USAID/OFDA ASSISTANCE1
Assam and Bihar Red Cross Purchase and transport of 10 Zodiac boats Assam, Bihar
$107,500
Indian Red Cross Emergency relief supplies Assam, Bihar
$150,000
UNDP Health surveillance Bihar
$43,000
TOTAL USAID/OFDA HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO INDIA
$300,5002

1 USAID/OFDA flood preparedness and mitigation activities conducted in South Asia total approximately $3.1 million since October 2001. The Asia Disaster Preparedness Fact Sheet is located at http://www.usaid.gov/our=5Fwork/humanitarian=5Fassistance/disaster=5Fassistance.

2 USAID/OFDA funding represents committed and/or obligated amount as of August 20, 2004.

USAID/OFDA EMERGENCY FLOOD ASSISTANCE TO NEPAL

Implementing Partner
Activity
Location
Amount
USAID/OFDA ASSISTANCE1
Nepal Red Cross Society Emergency relief supplies Multiple locations
$50,000
TOTAL USAID/OFDA HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO NEPAL
$50,0002

1 USAID/OFDA flood preparedness and mitigation activities conducted in South Asia total approximately $3.1 million since October 2001. The Asia Disaster Preparedness Fact Sheet is located at http://www.usaid.gov/our=5Fwork/humanitarian=5Fassistance/disaster=5Fassistance.

2 USAID/OFDA funding represents committed and/or obligated amount as of August 20, 2004.

PUBLIC DONATION INFORMATION

The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. For a list of organizations that are accepting donations for their response efforts, go to http://www.interaction.org.

USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, warehouse space, etc); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

More information on making donations and volunteering can be found on the following websites:

- The U.S. Agency for International Development: http://www.usaid.gov - Keyword: Donations

- The Center for International Disaster Information: http://www.cidi.org

- InterAction: http://www.interaction.org -> "How You Can Help"

Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at http://www.reliefweb.org

MAP - USG assistance to South Asia