By Maherin Ahmed
Heavy rains for the past five days have caused floods and catastrophic landslides in south-east Bangladesh, leaving 110 dead and nearly 300,000 people without secure accommodation. In total, an estimate 416,000 people have been affected by the floods.
Displaced people in the affected districts of in Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Bandarban, Feni, Sylhet, Hobiganj and Shunomganj are residing on road sides, schools and colleges and need shelter, food, clean water and medical care.
Volunteers from the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society have been helping in search and rescue operations, and also giving first aid, food and clean water to those affected. Red Crescent units from Sylhet and Chittagong have given dry food to over 1,000 people and the organization is planning to provide cooked food and dry rations to 3,000 people in Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Feni, Sylhet, Hobiganj and Shunomganj. This should provide two meals per day for five days.
Assessment teams have also been deployed across the region to assess future needs but many communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts are still unreachable due to the landslides. Thousands more people remain stranded in low-lying areas.
Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteer, H.M. Salauddin said that teams were working hard, but that the situation remained difficult due to the extent of the landslides.
The organization, with support from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has been developing long-term plans to tackle the challenges of the monsoon season, which has arrived earlier than expected. If rain continues at current levels, it is likely that livelihood dependent on agriculture will be severely affected by flood damage to rice-paddy fields and loss of livestock.