16 million children affected by massive flooding in South Asia, with millions more at risk


16 million children affected by massive flooding in South Asia, with millions more at risk

On 17 August 2017, people using a boat made out of a banana tree makes their way to a flood shelter in Kurigram District is located in the Rangpur Division, in Northern Bangladesh.

In August 2017, according to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), an estimated 3.9 million people in 20 districts of Bangladesh have been affected by flooding, the second round of exceptionally heavy monsoon rains to hit the country. Flood barriers have been breached in Saidpur, Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur, Kurigram, Rajshahi and Badarganj. According to the Bangladesh Flood Forecast and Warning Centre (FFWC) 21 rivers are still flowing above the pre-established danger level, and the waters of the Brahmaputra-Jamuna and Ganges-Padma Rivers are still rising. Access to affected areas is challenging, as flooding in the north has made the railway inoperable and roads difficult to navigate, while the runway at Saidpur airport is at risk of being submerged.

As of 14 August, 89 people are known to have died, including at least 14 people in the last 24 hours. 1,392 shelters in flood-affected areas are currently sheltering more than 282,479 people. An estimated 1,000 schools in Districts of Lalmonirhat, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogra, Jamalpur, Tangail, Sunamganj and Sylhet have closed because they have been flooded or are being used as temporary shelters. An estimated 110,400 hectares of cultivated land have been affected. According to the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE), a total of 12,719 tube-wells have been submerged in Kurigram District alone leaving people without easy to access to potable water. Affected children and their families need temporary shelters, access to food and safe drinking water and sanitation.

© UNICEF/UN076394/Saeed

Children using a boat made out of a banana tree makes their way to a flood shelter in Kurigram District is located in the Rangpur Division, in Northern Bangladesh.

UNICEF scaling up emergency response to support children and families affected.

KATHMANDU/NEW YORK/HONG KONG, 2 September 2017 – Weeks of torrential monsoon rains and catastrophic flooding in three countries of South Asia – Nepal, India, and Bangladesh – have devastated the lives of millions of children and families. UNICEF estimates that almost 16 million children and their families are in urgent need of life-saving support.

“Millions of children have seen their lives swept away by these devastating floods” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia. “Children have lost their homes, schools and even friends and loved ones. There is a danger the worst could still be to come as rains continue and flood waters move south” she added.

Since mid-August, there have been at least 1,288 reported deaths, with over 45 million people estimated to be affected.

Many areas remain inaccessible due to damage to roads, bridges, railways and airports. The most urgent needs for children are clean water, hygiene supplies to prevent the spread of disease, food supplies and safe places in evacuation centres for children to play.

UNICEF is on the ground working in close coordination with respective governments and humanitarian partners from three countries to scale up its responses and respond to immediate needs of affected children and their families.

“Massive damage to school infrastructure and supplies also mean hundreds of thousands of children may miss weeks or months of school” said Gough. “Getting children back into school is absolutely critical in establishing a sense of stability for children during times of crisis and provides a sense of normality when everything else is being turned upside down.”

In Bangladesh alone, more than 8 million people have been affected by flooding, including around 3 million children. An estimated 696,169 houses have been damaged or destroyed and 2,292 primary and community schools have been damaged by high water. There have already been more than 13,035 cases of water-borne diseases in the country.

In Nepal, 1.7 million people, including 680,000 children, have been affected with 352,738 displaced from their homes. More than 185,126 homes have been damaged or destroyed in addition to 1,958 schools, affecting the education of 253,605 children.

In India, four states in northern India have been extensively affected by the flooding, affecting over 31 million people including 12.33 million children. Some 805,183 houses are either partially or fully damaged and 15,455 schools have been damaged, disrupting the education of nearly one million students. Further heavy rains in Mumbai resulted in at least five deaths by drowning and three people including two children died due to house collapse.