DHAKA, Bangladesh, 24 September 2004 - More than a million children in Bangladesh are facing acute malnutrition after the heaviest rainfall in 50 years caused widespread destruction. This is the second flood to devastate the country in recent months, and vital crops have been destroyed.
Without immediate help, UNICEF says thousands of children could be become seriously ill or die. Half a million pregnant and breastfeeding women are also are at risk from malnutrition.
The floods have cut off many transport routes, wrecked buildings and disrupted livelihoods, particularly in southern areas. Poor sanitation, water-borne diseases and a lack of food have contributed to the increased level of malnutrition among children. Recovery efforts are being severely hampered by high levels of water.
“We are taking immediate steps to access the most vulnerable children and women to ensure basic health and nutrition as a life saving priority,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Bangladesh, Morten Giersing.
UNICEF is working with the United Nations Food Programme to provide daily food and supplements for those most in need. UNICEF is also supporting a nationwide campaign to provide Vitamin A capsules and de-worming tablets.
The United Nations Flash Appeal has raised 62.5 million dollars, but a total 210 million dollars is needed.