Photo: BDRCS Bandarban Unit

Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 16 July 2019 –-Nearly 6 million people across South Asia are under threat from rising flood waters following heavy monsoon rains, with more than one million displaced in one Indian state alone.

Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers across Bangladesh, India, and Nepal are racing to deliver emergency supplies to communities and prepare them as the situation in many areas is likely to worsen in the coming days. The numbers of people affected is likely to rise and there are growing concerns about potential food shortages and disease outbreaks.

Xavier Castellanos, Regional Director for Asia Pacific, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said:

“We are seeing growing numbers of displaced and increasing loss of life with each day of rain. Entire communities have been cut off by rising waters, increasing the risk of people going hungry and getting sick. All of our efforts right now are focused on reaching these people and ensuring that they have the supplies and support needed to withstand coming floods.”

Heavy monsoon rains and flooding cause massive displacement and death every year across South Asia. In Assam state, India, over a million people have been displaced after the Brahmaputra River, which flows from the Himalayas into India, burst its banks swamping more than 749 villages.

In south-eastern Nepal, the worst hit districts are submerged under water and inaccessible to Red Cross response teams. Meanwhile in Bangladesh, one third of the country is under water, affecting more than 900,000 people and damaging over 11,000 homes. Over the past week, heavy rains have caused more than 200 landslides in Cox’s Bazar which hosts some 900,000 people living in makeshift camps.

Xavier Castellanos said: “We know that preparedness saves lives. In all three countries, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams prepositioned supplies ahead of the rains so that volunteers can quickly deliver food supplies, first aid, clean water, temporary shelters and hygiene kits to affected communities.

More than 1,000 volunteers from the Bangladesh Red Crescent, Nepal Red Cross and Indian Red Cross have been working alongside local authorities in conduct search and rescue efforts and to provide first aid and relief.

IFRC teams in the three countries are working alongside their local Red Cross and Red Crescent counterparts to deliver relief and recovery efforts and to coordinate international assistance if and when it is needed.

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