The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is launching a USD 2.3 million international appeal to help the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society provide humanitarian assistance to 97,000 people afflicted with wide-scale floods.
"Since the second week of August, heavy rainfall in the main river basins and upstream catchments of India coupled with downpours across northern regions of Bangladesh has led to severe flooding," said the IFRC in a press release.
The floods have affected over three million people across 20 districts in low-lying areas in the east, west and central areas of the country. Over 340,000 people were forced from their homes and 34,000 houses were completely destroyed.
The country's inter-agency needs assessment report said the flood was the most severe "the country has faced since the mega-flood of 2007." Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has been on the ground responding to appeals for help since the floods began. Hundreds of staff and volunteers have reached thousands of families, providing them with food, personal hygiene items, shelter materials, safe drinking water and medical services.
"The challenge now is reaching thousands more with the right kind assistance, at the right time. In many places the waters are receding, but the needs are not," explains Mozharul Huq, Secretary General of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.
"People are returning to damaged homes and destroyed crops. There is hunger, misery and desperation to get back to normal life. We need international support to scale-up our response." Bangladesh Red Crescent is seeking to expand its reach, and over the next 12 months, will focus on providing food packages, safe water and sanitation, health and hygiene promotion, emergency and recovery shelter assistance, and restoration of livelihoods in the worst affected districts. In many of these areas, there are high levels of pre-existing vulnerabilities, including poverty, malnutrition and social deprivation.
"People need recovery interventions before they spiral further down the poverty ladder. As the monsoon season extends up to October, the risk of more heavy rains and flooding also remains," explains Tsehayou Seyoum, head of IFRC's Bangladesh office. "We want to be ready with enough relief supplies locally to meet the humanitarian needs on the ground."