Millions affected as monsoon floods and storms leave a trail of destruction across Asia

Published: 11 August 2015 10:53 CET

Several parts of Asia are now being inundated by floodwaters and ravaged by landslides as heavy rains continue to batter the region, causing extensive damage in property, destroying houses and crops and displacing millions of people.

In Southeast Asia, Myanmar continues to suffer the brunt of the heavy downpours which began in mid-July, as an estimated one million people were affected by severe floods. Almost 100 are reported to have died and 12 out of the country’s 14 regions were heavily impacted. Over 500 Red Cross staff and volunteers from branches in all flood-affected regions have been carrying out evacuations and providing first aid, relief supplies and clean water from its emergency stocks. So far, the relief and rescue efforts have reached over 50,000 people. On 11 August, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an emergency appeal to support the flood-affected communities in the worst affected regions of Myanmar. The appeal of 4 million Swiss Francs (USD 3.86 million) will target relief and recovery support over a one-year timeframe for 58,000 people in the regions of Magway, Sagaing and Chin. The International Committee of the Red Cross is also working with the Myanmar Red Cross Society in Rakhine State , and collectively, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will aim to reach 100,000 people

Meanwhile in East Asia, several areas in the south Hwanghae and the south and north Hamgyong provinces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) were severely affected by torrential rains from 1-5 August. According to reports by the State Committee on Emergency and Disaster Management, the Government of DPRK and DPRK Red Cross Society, the floods affected 3,500 people. 21 people have been killed and 9 others remain missing.  Hundreds of houses, as well as roads and bridges were destroyed or damaged. The DPRK Red Cross Society has deployed 30 Provincial Disaster Response Team (PDRT) and a Disaster Management team across three flooded provinces to conduct damage and needs assessment. Together with the IFRC, the National Society has responded to the floods by distributing non-food relief items like tarpaulins, quilts, kitchen sets, water purification tables and other essential items to seven communities in three of the flooded provinces.

Monsoon floods in South Asia have affected more than 12 million people across Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Heavy rainfall in some areas of India have had a severe impact on  six states across the country. More than 200 people have died and 10 million were affected. One million people were displaced as the floods caused widespread damage to property and infrastructure. The Indian Red Cross Society state branches have been carrying out needs assessments and the national headquarters is coordinating with the branches. First Medical Responders and staff have distributed relief including tarpaulins, tents, sheets, woollen blankets, sarees, dhotis, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, towels and plastic buckets in Assam, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal, Manipur, Madya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

In Bangladesh, more than 1.5 million people are suffering the combined effects of severe monsoon rains worsened  impact of Tropical Cyclone Komen across the coastal districts of Bhola, Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Nokhali, Feni and Bandarban. Hundreds of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society volunteers and staff have been in action providing emergency relief and non-food relief items including tarpaulins. The National Society has also identified 5,000 families who were already impoverished. Many were affected by the cyclone and earlier floods and landslides, and are now camping on embankments. The Red Cross has deployed two water treatment units and distributed safe drinking water to people in the Konakhali union of Chakria Upazila in Cox’s Bazar to prevent waterborne diseases. Sanitation is also a concern. Cash grants have been given to 1,000 families, and dry food to 1,500 families.

In Pakistan, the monsoon rains have caused 190 deaths and 123 injuries. The floods affected over 1.2 million people, causing  extensive destruction in 3,306 villages around Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and Balochistan, where over 12,000 houses were damaged. To date, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society has distributed non-food items to 325 families in Chitral and Gilgit, out of which 26 families in the village of Oshikhandass, were given shelter and latrines. The Red Crescent Punjab branch dispatched 200 tents from their existing stock to Kot Mitthan to establish a relief camp where cooked food is being provided to displaced families. A Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) amounting to CHF 300,000 will be released later in the week to meet immediate health, clean drinking water, emergency shelter and food needs.