Flood

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25/04/2022 | Emergency

South Africa: Floods and landslides

Deadly floods and landslides have devastated South Africa following three days of pounding rain in April 2022, prompting the country to declare a National State of Disaster. More than 100,000 people have been affected, thousands of homes have been destroyed and hundreds of people have tragically lost their lives. The worst affected areas are in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces. Through this emergency appeal, the IFRC will support the South African Red Cross Society to provide relief activities to 30,000 of the most affected people to meet their immediate needs and help them recover.

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26/04/2022 | Press release

KwaZulu-Natal floods: Red Cross steps up response amid mounting humanitarian needs

Pretoria/Nairobi/Geneva, 26 April 2022—The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an 8 million Swiss franc emergency appeal to support the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS) to expand the scope of their assistance as humanitarian needs continue to outpace available resources. eThekwini municipality in the east coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) was pummelled by rains on the weekend of 10 April. The meteorological department has stated that this is one of the heaviest floods recorded in a day in 60 years and has left a trail of destruction on human life, private property and infrastructure. The devastating floods have claimed over 400 lives so far. Over 50 people are unaccounted for, as search and rescue efforts continue. Damage to property and infrastructure is estimated to amount to billions of rands. Once the water subsided, thousands have been left without livelihoods and homes. Ruth van Rooyen, Senior Disaster Management Officer, IFRC Country Cluster Delegation for Southern Africa said: “The communities affected by the floods were already vulnerable due to the recent civil unrest and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had left many households without a source of income. Just as they were trying to rebuild, another disaster hit. Humanitarian aid is stretched, and partnerships are greatly needed as we support communities in their rebuilding process. This appeal aims to help communities build back better and regain the hope lost as they watched their lives washed away by the torrents of water.” According to national authorities, 123,808 people were affected, 448 people have died and over 30,000 are displaced, mostly in collective evacuation centers. Several dozens of people remain missing and unaccounted for. Rescue teams, including South Africa Red Cross Society volunteers, have been mobilized to the affected areas to search for the missing and bring others to safety. In the immediate aftermath of the floods, the IFRC released 330,000 Swiss francs (R5 351 866) from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) to help SARCS rapidly respond and provide immediate assistance to more than 7,500 people (over 1,500 households). To respond to the greater needs, the emergency appeal will allow SARCS to support a total of 30,000 people (6,000 households) with various relief activities in evacuation centres to enable early recovery in affected communities. Families with severely damaged homes and those who are economically vulnerable having lost their livelihoods and lacking alternative coping mechanisms to meet their basic needs will be the main targeted groups. Particular attention will be given to homeless women and children. SARCS staff and volunteers have been mobilized and continue to respond to communities after floods hit. They have provided hot meals, psychosocial support, and the protection of family links to affected individuals. Red Cross teams have also distributed mattresses and provided first aid to displacement centres. Resources Some initial images from the field can be accessed on this link: https://shared.ifrc.org/c/1586 For more information, or to request an interview please contact: In Pretoria: Robyn Lee Doyle, [email protected] In Nairobi: Susan Mbalu, [email protected] In Geneva: Anna Tuson, [email protected]

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17/02/2022 | Press release

Climate Change: Red Cross calls for more investments in local action as European and African leaders meet in Brussels

Nairobi, Kenya. 17 February 2022 – As parts of Southern Africa are reeling from the impacts of tropical storms and cyclones and other parts of the continent are facing severe droughts, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling for urgent investment in local action to combat the effects of climate change. The call comes ahead of the 6th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit which gets underway today in Brussels, Belgium. Recently, tropical storm Ana in Mozambique, Malawi, and Madagascar, and cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar again, left hundreds of thousands of people displaced, homes destroyed, and infrastructure worth billions of dollars damaged. At the same time, humanitarian organizations in Africa warned this week of a catastrophic hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia) where more than 20 million people are feared to face starvation because of prolonged drought. The Sahel and West Africa, particularly Nigeria, also face a deteriorating food security situation. Mohammed Mukhier, the Regional Director for IFRC Africa said: “What we are witnessing is a manifestation of the impact of climate change on the continent. We need to strengthen investments in local preventative measures that build people’s ability to cope with these intensifying disasters.” Countries in Africa are only responsible for four per cent of global carbon emissions, and at the same time disproportionately affected by the widespread consequences of climate change and accelerated environmental degradation. Yet, climate financing pledged by world leaders is slow to reach the people on the ground who are most exposed to climate risks. Ahead of the Summit, the IFRC calls for renewed efforts to build and implement a new Africa-EU Partnership that would answer to the needs of the most vulnerable people exposed to the impacts of climate change and the environmental crisis, strengthen food and health security and address forced migration. In the longer term, the role of local actors should be strengthened to support communities in building resilience and addressing humanitarian and development challenges on the continent. Communities in Africa and elsewhere are also increasingly impacted by multiple hazards in addition to the changing climate, which are compounding their vulnerabilities and affecting their capacity to cope. “Communities can hardly recover before they are hit by another disaster. Madagascar is a case in point where we saw a devastating drought last year, and before those effects could be relieved, some of those same communities have been impacted by cyclone Batsirai recently.” said Andoniaina Ratsimamanga, Secretary-General of the Malagasy Red Cross Society. To support countries to cope, there is an urgent need to address underlying vulnerabilities in communities, including poverty and marginalization, and providing support to those most exposed to the impacts of climate change. At the same time, there is incredible potential that lies within the African continent to address these challenges, including innovative approaches by young people and women to issues such as land restoration and the use of digital platforms. For more information, or to request an interview, please contact: In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe, +254 735 437 906, [email protected] In South Africa: Thandie Mwape, +27 66 486 8455, [email protected]

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04/02/2022 | Emergency

Madagascar: Tropical storm and cyclone

Torrential rains and widespread flooding in early 2022 severely affected communities across Madagascar. The country was badly hit by Tropical Storm Ana on 23 January followed byCyclone Batsiraion 5 February, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. This Emergency Appeal will enable the IFRC to support the Malagasy Red Cross in helping vulnerable people impacted by these multiple weather systems. Priorities includefood assistance, emergency shelter and non-food items, water, sanitation and hygiene services, as well as health, nutrition and protection services.

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04/02/2022 | Press release

Madagascar: More than 4 million people at risk as Tropical Cyclone Batsirai bears down on eastern coast

Antananarivo/Nairobi, 4 February 2022—Tropical Cyclone Batsirai, is expected to strike the Atsinanana region of Madagascar tomorrow, only weeks after tropical storm Ana wreaked havoc in the country. Ahead of its landfall, Madagascar Red Cross Society’s teams in the region are preparing emergency relief items and helping communities in the path of the cyclone to move to safe areas. Andoniaina Ratsimamanga, the Secretary General of Madagascar Red Cross said: “Communities across the Atsinanana region are worried about the potential widespread damage the cyclone could cause. Many families urgently need temporary shelters, especially those whose homes are located in the areas that are likely to be impacted by the cyclone. It is predicted that about 4.4 million people are at risk across 14 districts; with about 595,000 expected to be directly affected, and more than 150,000 likely to be displaced. Red Cross teams Atsinanana region are rushing to make necessary preparations, with a view to saving as many lives as possible. “Madagascar Red Cross Society’s teams and partners are on high alert and are deployed in communities, warning them of the approaching storm. Red Cross teams are moving prepositioned emergency stocks from Grand Tana area (Ananalamanga) to Tamatave (Atsinanana), for ease of access. We are concerned by the size and projected impact of this intense cyclone. Our immediate response activities will focus on saving lives, and they will include search and rescue operations,” added Ratsimamanga. Moreover, Red Cross teams are working with the Government to identify and set up safe buildings which will be utilized as emergency accommodation centres. With emergency response efforts still ongoing due to the impact of tropical storm Ana that hit the Madagascar in late January, the impact of Batsirai could worsen the overall country’s humanitarian situation. The country’s emergency response efforts are overstretched, and the situation remains critical due to the impact of the recent widespread flooding, water stagnation and landslides caused by tropical storm Ana. At least 55 deaths have been recorded and more than 130,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to temporary shelters or host families in the last few weeks. The country is still grappling with a prolonged hunger crisis since 2021. IFRC and its partners are stepping up preparedness and response efforts, to assist more people—both those affected by Ana and those that are likely to be impacted by Batsirai IFRC’s Programmes and Operations Coordinator in Madagascar, Denis Bariyanga, who is overseeing emergency preparedness efforts, said. “We are already helping 2000 families affected by tropical storm Ana to meet their immediate needs. With the landfall of Batsirai, many more families in the country will require emergency relief items, including blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, water, sanitation and hygiene, among others.” The IFRC had already released 428,609 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 26 January 2022, to support Madagascar Red Cross to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene services, healthcare, and psychosocial support, as well as cash assistance for shelter, livelihood and basic needs. More financial resources are needed to meet the increasing needs on the ground. IFRC is revising its emergency appeal for funding the crisis response. For more information, or to request an interview, please contact: In Madagascar Mialy Caren Ramanantoanina, +261 329 842 144, [email protected] Ny Antsa Mirado Rakotondratsimba, +261 34 54 458 76, [email protected] Denis Bariyanga, (WhatsApp: +250 786 527 056), [email protected] María Mercedes Martínez; +261 32 1132 624, [email protected] In Nairobi Euloge Ishimwe, +254 735 437 906, [email protected]

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03/02/2022 | Emergency

Malawi: Tropical Storm Ana 2022

Tropical Storm Ana lashed the Southern and Central Districts of Malawi from Monday 24 January, bringing strong winds and heavy rains. In a matter of hours communities were being washed out by significant floods. More than 500,000 people are estimated to have been affected and infrastructure and power supplies have been significantly damaged. This Emergency Appeal will enable the IFRC to support the Malawi Red Cross in meeting the immediate needs of displaced families, helping them rebuild their homes and livelihoods, and reducing their risk to future disasters.

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15/12/2021 | Press release

Over 57 million affected by climate disasters across Asia Pacific in 2021

Kuala Lumpur, 15 December 2021 – Asia and the Pacific have experienced relentless and unpredictable climate-related disasters in 2021, severely affecting more than 57 million people during the peak of the global pandemic. In 2021, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched 26 new operations, 15 of which are climate-related disaster responses. The IFRC is still responding to a further 21 disasters across Asia and the Pacific, from previous years. South Asia has been the worst hit this year, with millions of people affected by multiple disasters and little time to recover from one to the next. In India, more than 18 million people have been severely impacted by floods and cyclones this year, according to data from the Indian Government, Disaster Management Division. In Bangladesh, more than half a million people have been swamped by floods, with hundreds of villages marooned for weeks at a time. Around one third of Nepal suffered floods or landslides with many occurring outsides of the traditional monsoon season. Jessica Letch, IFRC Emergency Operations Manager said: “For much of this year, millions of families across Asia have been reeling after multiple blows from successive disasters and the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “From India to Indonesia, in Nepal and Bangladesh, our health and emergency teams are reporting livelihoods shattered by frequent and unpredictable climate disasters.” In China’s Henan Province, 13.9 million people were affected by severe flooding in July. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia has been worst affected by disasters, with more than one million people swamped by floods in the past month alone, according to the Indonesian Government Regional Disaster Authority. Drought, combined with associated economic collapse – which unfolds slowly but with devastating consequences – is affecting more than 22.8 million people in Afghanistan, according to the latest Integrated Food Security data. Other countries across Asia have also been hit by multiple disasters. Nearly one million people were swamped by flooding in Thailand, more than half a million people affected by floods and typhoons in the Philippines and over 125,000 people hit by floods in Myanmar. Pacific Island countries also faced significant flooding due to storms and rising sea tides. “Responding to disasters at the height of the COVID pandemic has involved some of the most complex operations and the changing climate is throwing unpredictable floods and storms at millions of people, making life even tougher,” said Jessica Letch. “As risks mount with climate change, the IFRC is investing in anticipatory early warning systems to better prepare communities to act before disasters strike, to reduce the loss of lives and livelihoods.” For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]

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26/08/2021 | Emergency type

Floods

Floods are when water overflows from the normal boundaries of a stream, river or other body of water or accumulates in an area that is usually dry.There are two main types of floods:inundation floods are slow, developing over hours or days, whileflash floods occur suddenly, often without warning, usually due to heavy rain. Though annual flooding is a natural phenomenon in many parts of the world, human habitation and land-use practices have led to an increase in frequency and magnitude of floods. Floodsare also predicted to become even more frequent and severe in future due to climate change. Floods can be extremely dangerous and cause massive human, environmentaland material damage to communities.

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21/10/2021 | Press release

Red Cross rushes relief as severe floods and landslides hit Nepal, India

Kuala Lumpur/Kathmandu/Delhi/Geneva, 21 October 2021 – Red Cross teams in Nepal and India are urgently rescuing survivors and providing relief as devastating floods and landslides have swept away homes and entire villages. More than 150 people have died across the two countries and dozens are missing according to government authorities, after some the heaviest rains in more than a century was dumped on provinces in Nepal and northern India. Azmat Ulla, Head of Delegation, International Federation of Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Nepal, said: “Red Cross relief teams are working non-stop to evacuate survivors and provide critical relief to thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down, with homes destroyed and livelihoods devasted by this unseasonal and massive deluge. “Infrastructure has been damaged, including roads and bridges, making access difficult. It’s critical every effort is made to rush more food, safe water and shelter supplies to people who have been left with nothing. “Crops and homes have been wiped out, which is a severe blow to families already grappling with the devastating fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The people of Nepal and India are sandwiched between the pandemic and worsening climate disasters, heavily impacting millions of lives and livelihoods.” Heavy rainfall is unusual in India and Nepal during October, which is traditionally outside the monsoon season, however authorities in both countries have warned that more rain is likely in the coming days, sparking fears of more floods and landslides. As well as delivering relief, Nepal Red Cross is working with local authorities to warn thousands of people of further threats from rising floodwaters and landslides. “With further storms and heavy rain forecast, we need to quickly access remote and worst-affected communities to provide essential relief items, while helping people to prevent further deaths by preparing for further floods and landslides,” Mr Azmat said. Last month, the IFRC released around 321,000 Swiss Francs from its Disaster Relief and Emergency Fund to support people in Nepal with relief and other assistance including, clean water, hygiene, health services and access to shelter, with winter fast approaching. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451 [email protected] About IFRC IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world. www.ifrc.org - Facebook - Twitter - YouTube

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16/10/2021 | Emergency

South Sudan: Floods

South Sudan is experiencing severe flooding for the third consecutive year since 2019. More than 623,000 people have been affected, with flooding causing widespread devastation to livelihoods, submerging schools, health facilities and thousands of houses, and displacing families.Food insecurity is a particular concern. This Emergency Appeal will enable the South Sudan Red Cross to continue providing immediate and early recovery assistance to 20,000 of the most vulnerable households.

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08/10/2021 | Press release

Thailand: Nearly 1 million people hit by floods amid COVID surge 

Kuala Lumpur/Bangkok, 8 October, 2021–Nearly one million people across Thailand are struggling to cope with devastating floods that have submerged large areas in more than a third of the country. Around 300,000 houses have been affected by the flooding and nine people are reported to have lost their lives according to the Thai GovernmentDepartment of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, in what is being described as the worst floods in a decade in parts of Thailand. Thai Red Cross teams are stretched to the limit, providing clean water and food, while trying to keep people safe from COVID-19 and ramping up critical vaccination drives across the country. Dr Amnat Bali, Director of Relief and Community Health Bureau, Thai Red Cross, said: “What we’ve seen in Lopburi, Singburi and other areas north of Bangkok is that people are expecting to live with the flood waters for several weeks. “Our volunteers and emergency teams have been working nonstop since the floods began, providing food, and other relief supplies to thousands of people, but we need to support many more as hundreds of thousands of people have flooded homes. “As soon as the floods subside, we are working alongside local health authorities to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations for older people, migrant workers and others most vulnerable.” The Thai Red Cross Society disaster response teams have delivered more than 52,000 relief kits with food, water, medicines, sanitary pads, mosquito repellents, cloth masks and hand sanitizers in 20 provinces. Thai Red Cross Society’s boats and an evacuation truck have been rescuing people and providing relief. Kathryn Clarkson, Southeast Asia Head of Delegation, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said: “These floods come at a difficult time for people already grappling with multiple crises particularly the tragic health and economic toll of COVID-19. “People need long term support as their ability to recover is stretched while still trying to cope with the impacts of COVID-19. Thai people are resilient, however this is the first time they are adapting to two major crises at the same time.” For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Bangkok: Preeti Abraham,+66 61 412 3910 [email protected] In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain,+60 12 230 8451 [email protected] About IFRC IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world. www.ifrc.org-Facebook-Twitter-YouTube

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11/09/2020 | Emergency

Sudan: 2020 floods

Heavy rains in Sudan from July to September 2020 caused devastating flooding, destruction of infrastructure and homes, killed more than 100 people and displaced thousands across the country. All 18 states of Sudan were affected and overall needs in the country have continued to grow due to a severe economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families are struggling to meet and access basic needs and services, and at least 1.3 million people currently face emergency levels of acute food insecurity.

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24/02/2021 | Article

A new start for over 600 people affected by Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique

Nhamatanda, 20 February 2021—Survivors of Cyclone Eloise have received materials from Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) to construct houses and start a new life. “I would like to thank the Red Cross for giving me and my neighbours these materials. We were suffering at the camp; there wasn’t enough space. With this donation, we will be able to construct our house and live a normal life again,” said Amelia Lewanhe, one of the families that received shelter materials. Over 300,000 people have been affected by Eloise that made landfall on 23 January. Thousands were forced from their homes and have been living in temporary accommodation shelters. More than 117,000 hectares of crops were destroyed by torrential downpours and floods. The most affected districts are Nhamatanda, Buzi, Beira and Dondo. Mozambique is prone to cyclones and tropical storms which can lead to flash flooding, hundreds of deaths, and massive destruction of property and crops. Eloise struck areas that have been devastated by previous cyclones, including Cyclone Idai. In addition, this is the third time for Mozambique to be hit by a storm this season: Tropical Storm Chalane hit the country in December 2020 and in February 2021 by Cyclone Gaumbe. Speaking on Saturday during the ceremony of handing over shelter materials to 122 families, Mr. Giro Jose Custodio—the Provincial Secretary of Sofala Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM)—said that CVM is committed to supporting the people affected by Eloise to start a new life. “We are aware of their problems from the evacuation period to this time. We are mobilizing resources to assist the remaining people in other accommodation centers. Our aim is to get all the affected people out of the accommodation centres,” said Custodio. CVM, with financial and technical support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) distributed shelter tool kits, kitchen sets, blankets, sleeping mats, bamboo poles, tarpaulins, ropes, and face masks for COVID-19 prevention, among others. With this distribution, the John Segredo accommodation centre has seen over 610 people moving out of the centre creating space for the remaining communities. The Red Cross has been at the forefront of the response including through anticipation and early action that saved lives. Ahead of the landfall, Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) staff and volunteers shared early warning messages to communities in the path of the cyclone to minimize the impact. As a result, many families were moved to safer areas, where they are receiving support from our teams. On January 23, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) released 359,689 Swiss francs from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)—to help Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) provide immediate relief and lifesaving assistance to 1,000 cyclone-affected families for three months with regards to health and care services as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene. The road to recovery is long and the IFRC is appealing for 5.1 million Swiss francs to support the (Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) continue to deliver assistance and support early recovery of 100,000 people affected by Cyclone Eloise for 12 months. The appeal focuses on shelter and essential household items (EHI), livelihoods and basic needs, health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), protection, gender and inclusion (PGI) and disaster risk reduction (DRR).

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15/01/2021 | Article

Malaysian 2021 Floods: In Pictures

Photos by Fadza Ishak/IFRC and Malaysian Red Crescent Society. Continuous torrential rain in eastern and southern peninsula Malaysia has caused rivers to burst their banks, flooding hundreds of communities and towns. The Malaysian Red Crescent worked alongside authorities as an emergency alert was issued and more than 52,000 people were evacuated when waters rose, reaching roofs and second stories within hours of the alert. Tens of thousands of people were badly affected as severe floods hit towns in the states of Terengganu, Pahang, and Johor. Many communities were cut off, surrounded by floodwater. In many areas where waters have receded as fast as they came, thick mud and muck coated thousands of houses, damaging virtually all households content. Household possessions -- toothbrushes, towels, utensils, pillows, mattresses, furniture and even personal clothes and valuables -- were coated with thick mud and muck. Cars and large household items were swept away, and damaged beyond repair. When the floods receded, people were devastated by the damage left behind. Homes by the river were among the worst hit, with water sweeping through doors and windows and carrying personal belongings away. Adding to the hardships, the flash floods took place in the middle of a worsening Covid-19 pandemic. Even though the worst of the flash floods have slowly receded, many areas still remain submerged under stagnant waters. The water levels reportedly rose to heights of up to 10 meters, submerging houses, schools, shops, power poles, and other infrastructure. The Malaysian Red Crescent teams worked alongside local authorities to provide essential relief such as rice, dry noodles, milk powder, dignity kits, detergent and more for the affected communities. In some areas, authorities travelled by boat to reach houses that had been completely isolated by stagnant waters. Loh Chin Sin, 74, returned to his home of 40 years to find all his belongings destroyed. Although these areas experience flooding and mass evacuation every year during the rainy season, this year was far more severe, with more than 52,000 people having to abandon their homes and discard almost all of their belongings. Some of those severely affected are camped on roadsides and bus stops, waiting for the water to recede. Malaysian Red Crescent and authorities are providing accommodation at emergency shelters along with food and essential items. To make matters worse, farm animals of all kinds and pets have been swept away or isolated. Volunteers have managed to rescue those that were thankfully found. The IFRC and Malaysian Red Crescent deployed its staff to work alongside authorities to keep people safe during evacuation and ensure their access to essential relief supplies. Malaysian Red Crescent have been on the ground for months before, conducting COVID-19 related activities to these remote communities in the state of Pahang and Terengganu.

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09/01/2021 | Press release

Relief efforts ramp up as Malaysian floods worsen 

Kuala Lumpur, 9 January2021 –Rescue and relief efforts have been ramped up as floods worsen, submerging large areas of south and eastern Peninsula Malaysia. Teams from Malaysian Red Crescent have been rescuing people and providing relief in the worst affected states of Pahang, Johor, Kelantan andTerengganu since the floods began. Malaysian Red Crescent Honorary Secretary General, Haji Hakim Hamzah said: “We are very concerned for the safety and wellbeing of more than 50,000 people who have been evacuated and swamped by these terrible floods in the middle of a worsening COVID-19 pandemic. These floods are getting worse by the hour, turning large areas into inland seas. We are rushing more teams to the worst-affected areas to complement evacuation efforts, providing hygiene kits and psychological support as well as helping to keep people safe from COVID-19 in areas devastated by the flooding. We will also provide cash for people to meet other immediate needs as soon as local stores and markets can reopen." Since the flooding first began submerging areas in Johor, Pahang and other areas, Malaysian Red Crescent teams have been working alongside authorities to keep people safe as they evacuate and ensuring access to essential relief supplies. Photo by Fadza Ishak/IFRC Head of theInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Asia PacificDisaster, Climate and Crisis Unit, Necephor Mghendi, said: "These floods are a double blow for tens of thousands of people already coping with the crippling social, economic and psychological impacts of COVID-19 as cases continue to rise across Malaysia. It is critical to keep people safe and provide immediate relief in these devastating floods, while providing support to help people ease the burden of shattered livelihoods.” The IFRC has released more than 127,000 Swiss Francs ($143,000 USD), to provide urgent relief including cash assistance, hygiene kits and psychological support for 5,000 people over the next three months.

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15/11/2020 | Press release

Catastrophic floods submerge whole towns in Philippines

Kuala Lumpur/Manila/Geneva, 15 November 2020 – Catastrophic floods have completely submerged entire towns and villages in the northern region of the Philippines, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes just days after Typhoon Vamco tore through the country. Dozens of towns and villages have been devastated in the Cagayan Valley, north of the capital Manila as flood waters up to 12 metres deep swamped tens of thousands of homes. Red Cross fears for the safety and wellbeing of thousands who remain trapped, with at least 47,000 people rescued so far according to local authorities. Initial assessments indicate around 90 per cent of homes have been flooded in Tuguegarao, the Cagayan provincial capital. Red Cross teams have been working through the night searching in the floodwaters by flashlight and rescuing people stranded on rooftops. Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said: “Our teams are urgently searching for people trapped in these horrifying floodwaters and rescuing people who have been forced to camp on their roofs. We’re making sure people have access to critical first aid, shelter, hot meals and safe drinking water. “These floods are a calamity and the worst we have seen in Cagayan for at least 40 years. More Red Cross rescue teams and resources are being rushed to help with our massive rescue and relief operations." The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is releasing 750,000 Swiss Francs to assist with immediate relief for 40,000 people affected by the floods and Typhoon Vamco, including communities in Cagayan Valley. IFRC has also more than doubled an international Emergency Appeal to 8.5 million Swiss Francs, to support at least 100,000 people whose homes and livelihoods were devastated by Super Typhoon Goni earlier this month. Head of IFRC Philippine Country Office Robert Kaufman said: “These catastrophic floods are another sad and brutal blow for the people of the Philippines. This is a terrible triple disaster as these terrifying floods and two devastating typhoons strike communities already reeling from the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19. "We are urgently redoubling our support for the people of the Philippines, all while keeping people safe from COVID-19, in one of the most complex relief operations ever. People need immediate relief as well as longer term support to recover and rebuild livelihoods in the weeks and months ahead. We must build back better in the facing of recurring threats.”

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10/11/2020 | Article

IFRC concerned about impact of Hurricane Eta on coronavirus transmission

The Red Cross, working in every country in the region, is supporting thousands of people affected by the heavy rains and floods caused by Hurricane Eta. Eta tore across parts of Central America after in made landfall in Nicaragua on 3 November as a category 4 Hurricane. Though it was downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved towards Honduras and Guatemala, constant rains and powerful winds have caused flooding and devastation across the region, including dozens of deadly landslides. Belize, Cost Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua have all been significantly affected. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes with flooding and landslides causing severe damage across the region. It is thought the storm has claimed the lives of more than 200 people, though the true figure could be much higher as many people remain missing. [caption id="attachment_70233" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Honduran Red Cross search and rescue volunteers have been deployed to areas affected by landslides. (Credit Honduran Red Cross)[/caption] As families struggle to come to terms with what has happened, concerns are mounting about the impact this disaster will have on coronavirus transmissions. COVID-19 prevention measures, such as regular hand washing and social distancing, will almost certainly be made more difficult in evacuation shelters, in overcrowded family homes or other safe places people have moved to. “There are thousands of homeless people, in temporary refuges or shelters facing many vulnerabilities. Right now, preventing the spread of COVID-19 is essential despite the enormous challenges of the emergency. It is not unlikely that we will witness a significant increase in cases in the coming weeks, due to the difficulty of applying public health measures in such a complex context,” Dr María Tallarico, IFRC Health Coordinator in the Americas, warns. [caption id="attachment_70209" align="aligncenter" width="947"] Evacuation efforts continued over the weekend as heavy rains continued to wreak havoc. (Credit: Honduran Red Cross)[/caption] Thousands of Red Cross volunteers across the region are assisting families affected by floods, supporting evacuations and search and rescue, providing first aid and psychosocial support, as well as transporting people safely to hospital. These same volunteers have been supporting communities to stay safe during the pandemic. “Red Cross National Societies face the difficult task of responding to these deadly rains and floods as well as COVID-19. Volunteers are being provided with the necessary personal protection equipment and will continue to support communities with prevention and protection measures. It is important now that these measures are not only maintained but increased in order to reduce possible transmissions”, Dr Maria continues. [caption id="attachment_70229" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Volunteers from the Guatemalan Red Cross are supporting children affected by the storm with psychosocial support in evacuation shelters across the country. Across the region, volunteers are already distributing hygiene kits across to help people to stay safe. (Credit: Guatemalan Red Cross)[/caption] Red Cross National Societies, with the support of the IFRC in the region, are already distributing hygiene kits to displaced people, these include masks and hand sanitizer. Volunteers are also talking to families about how to stay safe during this time. The IFRC is recommending that all response must consider the need for heightened prevention measures against the virus, as well as other communicable diseases, such as Zika, that commonly increase during and after floods. “We urge people to ensure that they continue to follow health advice, wear masks and wash or disinfect their hands as regularly as possible, use safe water to avoid diarrhea and other infections due to contaminated water, protect girls and boys and monitor the emergence of respiratory or skin diseases. Our Red Cross staff and volunteers are on the ground helping and supporting these tasks,” Dr Maria says. [caption id="attachment_70225" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Volunteers from the Nicaraguan Red Cross clear a road obstructed by debris and trees dragged by the flood currents. (Credit: Nicaraguan Red Cross)[/caption] The Red Cross is also urging people to continue to consider personal protection measures such as wearing masks and washing their hands as often as possible. Assessments are underway to evaluate the damage caused by the storm. The immediate concerns are ensuring people have access to clean water, food and safe shelter. [caption id="attachment_70221" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The Costa Rican Red Cross is supporting evacuations in areas affected by the storm. (Credit: Costa Rican Red Cross)[/caption] It may be days or even week before the true extent of the damage is known, but constant rains even after the storm has passed, means that strong currents and landslides continue to destroy homes, farmland and sadly, to take lives. [caption id="attachment_70217" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A Guatemalan Red Cross volunteer speaks with a person affected by the floods. Many families face economic uncertainty caused by coronavirus restrictions. These floods bring a further bow to those already struggling to cope. (Credit: Guatemalan Red Cross)[/caption] This devastation comes at a time when many communities in the region are already deeply affected by the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The long-term effects of this disaster threatens to push communities already struggling to cope, over the edge. “The long-term effects of this climate disaster will push communities already struggling to cope with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, over the edge. The IFRC has launched and appeal and will continue to work alongside the National Societies responding, to ensure that no one is left behind.” The IFRC has launched a regional emergency appeal to cover three countries, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The IFRC is seeking 20m CHF to support 75,000 people cross these three countries for the next 18 months. It also continues to support other countries affected, including Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama, working closely with the National Societies responding. The IFRC in the region continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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28/10/2020 | Press release

Homes of 1 million people in ruin as major typhoon hits Viet Nam

Kuala Lumpur/Hanoi/Geneva, 28 October, 2020 – Catastrophic floods across central Vietnam have already ruined the homes of more than one million people as yet another major storm takes aim for the battered region. In excess of 310,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed by recent flooding, leaving close to 1.2 million people in severe danger and in need of relief. Now, as Typhoon Molave bears down on Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of people remain in need of shelter, safe drinking water, sanitation, food and livelihoods support after four major storms in the past month have caused severe flooding in the country’s central provinces. Typhoon Molave is making landfall today, 28 October, bringing with it destructive winds and yet more rain. In response to the existing flooding, and in anticipation of further impacts as a result of Typhoon Molave, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an Emergency Appeal for 3.9 million Swiss Francs to fund relief and recovery efforts for an estimated 160,000 people. IFRC has already provided nearly 300,000 Swiss francs to support local emergency efforts. Mdm. Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, President, Viet Nam Red Cross Society, said the agency’s staff and volunteers are supporting the government with a mass evacuation of 1.3 million people who are in the path of Typhoon Molave: “The people of Vietnam are tough, yet this is among the worst destruction ever seen in many areas. The relentless storms and flooding are taking a devastating human toll, further destroying livelihoods and isolating millions of people. “We are mounting one of our biggest relief operations ever, to provide critical relief including food, blankets, tarpaulins and cooking equipment. All our hard work in containing the social and economic fallout of COVID-19 is being undone by these massive storms hitting us one after the other,” Madam Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu said. It is estimated that at least 150,000 people are at immediate risk of food shortages and hunger after thousands of hectares of crops have been destroyed, while over 2 million cattle and poultry are dead or swept away in some of the worst flooding in decades. Christopher Rassi, acting Head of IFRC’s Country Cluster Delegation in Bangkok, said: “These relentless storms are yet another example of the devastating impact of climate change. More storms mean worse floods and catastrophic damage for the people and economy of Vietnam. “We must act swiftly as people are in urgent need of short-term relief and longer-term assistance to restore food security and livelihoods and to rebuild ruined homes,” Mr Rassi said. About IFRC IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.www.ifrc.org-Facebook-Twitter-YouTube

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20/10/2020 | Press release

Five million swamped by catastrophic floods in Vietnam

Photo: Viet Nam Red Cross Society Kuala Lumpur/Hanoi/Geneva, October 20, 2020 – Red Cross is ramping up relief as catastrophic floods have affected five million people in central Vietnam. At least 178,000 homes have been submerged in floodwaters that have also destroyed food crops. Close to 690,000 poultry and livestock have been killed or swept away. Mdm. Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, President, Viet Nam Red Cross Society said: “These devastating floods are some of the worst we have seen in decades and they are dealing a staggering blow to the livelihoods of millions of people already reeling from hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” “Everywhere we look, homes, roads and infrastructure have been submerged. We’re doing our best to get immediate relief to people by boat, by air and on land, including food, safe water, tarpaulins and other essentials”. Viet Nam Red Cross disaster response teams have been working alongside local authorities in all provinces to provide relief assistance as the floods and landslides worsen by the hour. Christopher Rassi, Director of the Office of the Secretary General and acting Head of Country Cluster Delegation in Bangkok, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “We are seeing a deadly double disaster unfold before our eyes as these floods compound the difficulties caused by COVID-19. These floods are the last straw and will push millions of people further towards the brink of poverty.” “Hundreds of thousands of people are in urgent need of emergency shelter, safe drinking water, food, and income support in the coming days and weeks to prevent a larger humanitarian crisis,” Mr. Rassi said. The IFRC has released 297,349 Swiss Francs (US$ 324,853) to support Viet Nam Red Cross relief activities. High-resolution photos can bedownloaded here. About IFRC IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.www.ifrc.org-Facebook-Twitter-YouTube

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14/10/2020 | Press release

One million swamped by deadly floods as Viet Nam faces another major storm

Hanoi, Viet Nam, October 14, 2020 – Close to a million people have been severely affected by prolonged flooding in central Viet Nam as the country faces another major tropical storm and further dangerous floods. Red Cross holds grave fears that deadly floods, which have submerged the country’s central provinces over recent days, will worsen as tropical storm Nangka makes landfall today, bringing destructive winds and dumping more rain on hard hit communities. Since the floods began in early October, at least 28 people have been killed, more than 200,000 homes flooded and an estimated 84,000 hectares of crops damaged. Hundreds of thousands of people – many cut off by the floodwater – are now in desperate need of emergency relief. As part of a coordinated relief effort, Viet Nam Red Cross staff and volunteers have been accessing isolated communities by boat to provide emergency shelter, safe drinking water, food and other much needed supplies. More relief supplies are urgently being brought in from other parts of the country. Mr Hoa Nguyen, Deputy Director of External Relations and Development, Viet Nam Red Cross, said: “Our volunteers and staff have been working in the affected areas since the floods began, providing relief supplies to thousands of people, but we need to reach many more as the rain continues and floods worsen. Every day we hear of more families who have lost their homes, their crops and their livelihoods.” Hung Ha Nguyen, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Programme Coordinator said: “These floods are a double whammy making it even tougher for millions of people already grappling with the economic fall-out of COVID-19 that has destroyed incomes and livelihoods.” “Multiple storm fronts will overwhelm even the most prepared and resilient communities, especially on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We need to help ensure families receive the relief they need in the coming days and weeks,” Mr Hung Ha said. About IFRC IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world. www.ifrc.org-Facebook-Twitter-YouTube

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01/10/2020 | Article

Early action key as South Asia copes with four crises in one year

In South Asia, more than 25 million people have been battling four crises in one year. Floods came as COVID-19 and climate change worsened poverty and loss of livelihoods. Thousands of villages have been submerged for months. In north Bangladesh, homes and crops have been destroyed four times. Some of the worst floods in decades followed a cyclone that already caused widespread devastation. Ahead of these disasters, Red Cross and Red Crescent has twice provided early action emergency cash, helping more than 35,000 people most at risk to evacuate safely and recover quicker. This forecast-based action is also being embraced by the United Nations and other agencies as a critical step to address the growing needs of millions of people at the mercy of climate disasters. Millions have been living in tarpaulin shelters on road sides and any high ground available, as their homes have been under water for months. At one point more than half of Bangladesh was submerged. The floods have also affected millions of farmers, destroying crops and threatening to push millions of people, already badly impacted by COVID-19, further into poverty and food insecurity. These floods are testing the resilience of some of the world’s most fragile communities, who have long been trying to escape poverty. Having borrowed money to build a home for his young family only four months ago, 35-year-old Sumon is now faced with a repair bill he can little afford, and ongoing unemployment due to the floods and COVID-19. Khadiza, 19, was forced to leave her house with her two sons – three-months and two-and-a-half years old – when the floodwaters submerged their village in northern Bangladesh. The country has seen three devastating monsoon flood seasons in the past four years. In 2019, more than seven million people were swamped while in 2017 over eight million people were severely affected, losing homes and livelihoods. These floods and water-borne diseases that follow in their wake are putting increased pressure on health-care systems stretched to the limit and struggling to cope with COVID-19. Red Cross and Red Crescent health teams are supporting the most at risk communities to have access to basic healthcare. Janina Begum, 60, came back from her roadside tarpaulin shelter to check on her home that had been submerged for two months. While some people are looking to rebuild, Bangladesh’s monsoon season is far from over and the threat of new flooding hangs in the air. These threats have multiplied with climate disasters happening more often in Asia, the most disaster-prone area in the world. Asharam, 60 unpacks relief items after returning to his home that had been completely submerged in Mahangu Pure village, Uttar Pradesh, northern India. More than 20 million people have been devastated by the floods in India, mainly in Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, with many already poorer communities losing their homes and livelihoods. Indian Red Cross and Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers are doing all they can to provide relief in the most difficult circumstances they have ever faced. The volunteers say they have a duty to support people, who are tackling growing hardships caused by the floods, poverty, COVID-19 and the increasing effects of climate change. Mossamet Sahera, 60, had her home washed away. Sahera was living in a small hut next door to her sister. Her husband left her when she was young because she had a physical disability. Sahera and her sister face an uncertain future. Photos: AJ Ghani (Bangladesh), Rohan Chakravarty (India) and Emon Arafin, (Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers).

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11/09/2020 | Press release

Red Cross launches Emergency Appeal for Sudan as deadly flooding leaves thousands homeless

Nairobi/Geneva, 11 September 2020 — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today launched an additional funds appeal for 12 million Swiss Francs to support the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) in delivering assistance to people affected by flooding. Since July 2020, heavy rainfall has been escalating in Sudan and today, 16 of the 18 states are flooded. Sinnar, Khartoum, and Al Gezira are the most affected states. Teams of Red Crescent volunteers are helping people to move to higher ground and providing emergency support to the most vulnerable people affected by the disaster. Elfadil Eltahir, SRCS President, said: “The magnitude of the flooding disaster is unprecedented. The situation is getting worse as water continues to rise by the hour, covering new areas and causing more devastation. To cope with this dire situation, more humanitarian assistance is badly and urgently needed in order to alleviate the suffering of those affected, by protecting their health, life and dignity.” The flooding has affected more than 500,000 people who are all in need of shelter, household items, health and care, water, hygiene, sanitation, food and other basic needs. The SRCS will assist at least 200,000 of these people. Across the country, women, girls, children, older people, migrants — as well as people with disabilities and underlying conditions, remain at risk. John Roche, IFRC’s Head of East Africa Office said: “This is an unfolding situation as information comes from those on the frontline, the testimonies of the devastation and loss is overwhelming. More than 100,000 homes so far have been reported to have been carried away by the floods, food crops have been destroyed, access to clean drinking water becomes precarious as many face increased exposure to water- and vector-borne disease.” The SRCS will use the funds from the emergency appeal to provide emergency shelter materials, safe drinking water and hygiene materials, primary health care to prevent disease outbreaks, psychosocial support and cash grants for food and basic needs. Communities and families want to stay close together and move as a group and it is difficult to implement Covid-19 preventive measures. In addition, the funds will also help volunteers to share life-saving information on waterborne disease prevention, risk avoidance, and early warning systems on possible flooding or landslide threats. More volunteers will be trained on how to conduct assessment and monitoring. The Sudan floods are yet another example of the increasing climate risks we face around the world. Global leaders such as IFRC President Francesco Rocca — who have been meeting this week to address these challenges during a global climate summit (Climate:Red) with 10,000 participants from 195 countries — indicated that climate change is one of the IFRC’s top priorities for the coming decade, and will require a combination of increased response to emergencies such as the one we now face in Sudan, but also increased efforts to help communities to adapt and reduce the rising risks.

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06/08/2020 | Press release

17.5 million affected by floods and threatened by disease in South Asia

Dhaka/Kuala Lumpur, 6 August 2020 – Monsoon floods are robbing millions of people of their homes and livelihoods, with mounting risk of more deadly disease outbreaks when health resources are stretched to breaking point by COVID-19. So far almost 17.5 million people have been affected and more than 630 killed by major floods in India, Bangladesh and Nepal according to government figures. Half of Bangladesh’s districts are underwater, leaving nearly 1 million families stranded and cut off in their villages. Flooding and landslides in Nepal have left almost 200 people dead or missing. In India, almost 12 million people are affected by the floods mainly in the northern states of Assam and Bihar. Feroz Salah Uddin, Secretary General, Bangladesh Red Crescent said: “This is one of the biggest monsoon floods we have faced in many years and the worst may be yet to come as we face growing risks of malaria, dengue, diarrhea as well as this worsening COVID-19 pandemic.” The monsoon season floods mean a high proportion of the population in South Asia is vulnerable to diseases such as dengue, malaria, leptospirosis and cholera. In 2019, Bangladesh experienced its deadliest outbreak of dengue with more than 101,000 cases and almost 180 deaths. India reported 136,000 people were infected with the disease and many were hospitalised. Previous years show how devastating these diseases can be for communities in South Asia, so Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in the region are urgently ramping up their flood response activities, which include distributing mosquito nets and working with communities to reduce their exposure to diseases like malaria and dengue. COVID-19 restrictions have hampered efforts to destroy mosquito-breeding sites and raise awareness in communities of how to prevent the spread of diseases like dengue and malaria, ahead of this year’s monsoon season. At the same time, restrictions on movement of people and increased screening for COVID-19 may be helping to keep other diseases from exploding for now. Dr Abhishek Rimal, Regional Emergency Health Coordinator, Asia Pacific, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “Vast inland seas of stagnant water create an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos, with soaring risk of diseases like dengue and malaria. Millions of people are also gathered in confined spaces or sleeping in temporary shelters with limited access to food, safe water and protection from mosquitos, creating the perfect storm for the spread of mosquito and water-borne diseases.” The majority of limited hospital beds, doctors and health resources have been redirected to focus on COVID-19 response as India deals with more than 50,000 recorded cases a day. Bangladesh and Nepal have surpassed 240,000 and 20,700 confirmed cases respectively. South Asia now has more than 2.2 million cases of COVID-19 cases with fears that the total number of infections is much higher. Dr Rimal, said: “The critical focus on saving lives in this pandemic and preventing the further spread of COVID-19 has diverted their resources from prevention activities such as dengue and malaria are going untreated. We are seeing evidence that people are reluctant to go to health facilities because they fear catching COVID-19 and getting more sick.”

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22/07/2020 | Press release

South Asia floods: 9.6 million people swamped as humanitarian crisis deepens

Kuala Lumpur/Delhi/Dhaka/Kathmandu/Geneva, 22 July 2020 – A humanitarian crisis is deepening in South Asia as new figures reveal that more than 9.6 million people have been affected by monsoon floods, devastating large areas of India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “Millions of people across Bangladesh, India and Nepal have been marooned, their homes damaged and crops destroyed by floods that are the worst in recent years. “Every year there are monsoon floods, but this year is different as it comes at the height of a deadly COVID-19 global pandemic. Tragically, already 550 people have lost their lives and more than 9.6 million people have been swamped across South Asia.” Close to one third of Bangladesh has already been flooded with forecasts of worse flooding in the coming days. More than 2.8 million people have been affected, including close to 1 million who remain isolated and surrounded by floodwaters, according to the Bangladesh Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief. In India, more than 6.8 million people have been affected by severe floods, mainly in the northern states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Meghalaya bordering Bangladesh, according to the Indian National Emergency Response Centre. In Nepal, flooding and landslides have already killed close to 110 people. Across India, Bangladesh and Nepal, 550 have died according to government figures. Millions have been displaced from their homes. Mr Chapagain said: “People in Bangladesh, India and Nepal are sandwiched in a triple disaster of flooding, the coronavirus and an associated socioeconomic crisis of loss of livelihoods and jobs. Flooding of farm lands and destruction of crops can push millions of people, already badly impacted by the COVID-19, further into poverty.” IFRC has released more than 800,000 Swiss francs (850,000 US dollars) to support Bangladesh Red Crescent relief activities, including more than 230,000 Swiss francs released last month when flood forecasts signaled the extent of the potential impact. Volunteers in India, Bangladesh and Nepal are helping with shelter, providing tarpaulins, dry food and hygiene kits, and installing pumps for safe water. In Bangladesh, Red Crescent teams have distributed cash grants to help more than 35,000 people cope with the flooding. In India, over 9,200 tarpaulins have been distributed to most at-risk families. In Nepal, Red Cross teams are airlifting relief supplies to communities that cannot be reached by road. Many communities in Bangladesh and India are still recovering after Cyclone Amphan damaged or destroyed more than 260,000 homes, crops and infrastructure, two months ago.

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30/06/2020 | Press release

Early action to save lives in Bangladesh amid severe flood forecast

Dhaka/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 30 June 2020: Urgent early action is being taken to protect lives in Bangladesh as floods threaten 4.1 million people in large areas across the country that are already grappling with COVID-19.The Global Flood Awareness System (GLOFAS) has issued a flood forecast with a more than 50 per cent probability of a severe 1-in-10-year flood submerging some areas of Bangladesh for at least three days.A 5-day forecast by Bangladesh’s Flood Forecast and Warning Centre (FFWC) has also confirmed the severity of the floods. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is implementing early actions with forecast-based funds from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to protect the lives, property and livelihoods of more than 16,500 people most at risk in three districts: Kurigram, Gaibandha and Jamalpur.Bangladesh Red Crescent Society Secretary General Feroz Salah Uddin said: “The flood water is rising alarmingly and many areas are already inundated. Our volunteers and staff are on the ground to assist the most vulnerable communities before the water reaches the danger level.“This funding will help us accelerate our early actions when time is running out.”The forecast has triggered the release of more than 230,000 Swiss francs (240,000 US dollars) from IFRC’s designated fund for anticipatory action, Forecast-based Action by the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.This funding will help support Bangladesh Red Crescent in evacuating people in the most at risk communities to safe shelters with their valuable assets and livestock; providing unconditional cash grants to those affected; and giving first aid treatment to those who need it. Precautionary measures are also being taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by pre-positioning facemasks and hand sanitisers for distribution.IFRC Head of Bangladesh Country Office Azmat Ulla said: “As a potentially severe flood continues to threaten millions of people in Bangladesh, we are taking a variety of preparedness measures to save lives and reduce loss. Together with Bangladesh Red Crescent we are reaching out to the communities in need to help them evacuate and to provide them with cash grants that give people in the path of floodwaters the ability to address their most urgent needs.“The compounding effects of COVID-19 and the floods could be devastating and this funding is crucial to reducing the impact as much as possible.”This is the second time in six weeks that IFRC has released forecast-based funds to support early and life-saving action in Bangladesh, after releasing more than 134,000 Swiss francs (138,000 US dollars) ahead of Cyclone Amphan in May.Early actions and forecast thresholds are pre-defined and agreed in BDRCS’ Early Action Protocol for Floods that has been developed with support of German Red Cross and Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

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