South Asia has been hit by the most extreme floods in more than a decade, affecting more than 20 million people and creating a growing death of nearly 700. More than 17 million people are impacted across northern India – including nearly 7 million children.
With displaced people seeking water sources contaminated by the floods, there are huge concerns and challenges over the spread of waterborne diseases.
The floods have hit at during the early stages of planting season, destroying more than 440,000 hectares of agricultural land and cutting families’ access to food.
A mammoth recovery operation
2.2 million are homeless in northern Bangladesh and hundreds of schools across 22 districts shut down. The country staff have told us they expect the situation there to get worse as the torrent of water moves towards the Bay of Bengal.
In Nepal, 128 people have died in the floods. Although the flooding now looks to be easing, families are left facing the destruction left behind. Many have seen their homes and most of their possessions washed away or ruined.
Thomas Chandy, our CEO in India warned of a secondary health crisis as the flood waters began to retreat. “Even though flood waters are receding in some parts, it provides little respite. The mammoth recovery operation is only just beginning. The challenge now is to prevent potential outbreaks of disease like cholera or diarrhea”.
One ten-year-old’s lucky escape
Ranjana and her family were forced to flee their home on Saturday evening. They don’t know what to expect on their return home.
She said: “Our house is still half submerged and I have not been to the house since Saturday. I worry that my books, clothes and other belongings must have been swept away by the flood”.
She’s the only child in the family who goes to school. The books and school materials lost and damaged will be nearly impossible to replace.
Ranjana’s currently staying with her mother, two older brothers and two younger sisters in a shelter by a roadside. 120 other households are also with them.
Of all the things provided, Ranjana had no problem identifying her favourite, telling us: “I needed this comb the most as I had not combed my hair since we left home.”
How Save the Children is helping flood victims in South Asia
We have distributed shelter items such as tarpaulin and water purification tablets and hygiene kits including soap and toothbrushes. Another organisation in the area has already provided rice to families.
In Nepal, we have been distributing hundreds of hygiene kits and tarpaulins to affected families, whilst in India we have been setting up safe spaces for children as well as distributing shelter items and hygiene kits.
Our teams in Bangladesh are preparing to distribute items including kitchen kits and hygiene kits to families the badly affected districts of Kurigram and Sirajgani, as well as cash to allow people to buy food and water.
With the monsoon season expected to last through to September, the potential for further flooding across the whole region remains. Families across South Asia urgently need your help.
- £3.30 could buy a clean water kit, including water treatment, jugs, buckets, jerry cans, water filters and zip-bags.
- £13.52 could buy a hygiene kit, which includes soap, laundry soap, toothbrushes, rope, underwear, towels, combs and water containers.