Bangladesh Red Crescent Society volunteers carrying relief goods for distribution. Maherin Ahmed/IFRC
By Maherin Ahmed
Days of incessant rain since 25 June 2012 has resulted in a series of devastating flash floods and landslides in southeast Bangladesh. In the Cox’s Bazaar district, one of the most affected areas, the floods killed more than 50 people. Villagers claimed that the water level rose up to seven feet in just two days. The flood water receded quickly once the rain subsided but it left a trail of destruction, houses were swept away, roads and other critical infrastructure were damaged and hundreds of people were left without food and shelter.
Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) is playing an integral role in delivering vital humanitarian aid to affected communities. Volunteers and staff from the local district branch responded immediately to the needs of affected people by assisting in search and rescue and distributing essential relief items.
Delowar, a Red Crescent volunteer, explained that as soon as they heard about the flash flood, 30 volunteers reported at the branch office to offer their help.
“We went to the branch office to prepare dry food packets as soon as the water level started to rise on the evening of 26 June. By the next morning, we were knee-deep in the water carrying out relief work in eight of the affected unions in the Cox’s Bazaar district,” says Delowar.
From 27 June to 2 July, the Red Crescent Cox’s Bazaar branch has distributed essential relief items including pressed rice, molasses, water containers and clothing to 1,700 families.
Volunteers and staff also rescued over 20 people, including women and children, who were stranded in flood waters in Muktarpul village.
241,000 Swiss francs ($246,800 US dollars) has been allocated from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ disaster relief emergency fund to support Bangladesh Red Crescent Society in delivering immediate assistance to 25,000 people affected by floods.