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11 million hit as floods worsen in Bangladesh

© UNICEF Bangladesh/2004
Rivers continue to rise as conditions deteriorate

NEW YORK, 21 July 2004 – More than 11 million children and adults in Bangladesh have now been affected by severe floods sweeping across South Asia. It is believed that  around 100 people have died.

UNICEF says the situation is becoming critical with monsoon rains triggering new flooding in northern and central parts of Bangladesh. Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate with more heavy rain forecast in the north east.

Cities in this region have been cut off as roads are impassable and thousands of schools have been closed. Many are being used as shelters by people forced to flee their homes. A quarter of a million hectares of crop land have been damaged.

All three of the country’s main rivers are continuing to rise as excess water from flood stricken Bihar State in India flows downstream. Poor drainage around Dhaka is causing particular concern as it’s likely to lead to prolonged flooding. A full moon around August 1 could make matters worse, causing a high tide in the Bay of Bengal.

The Government of Bangladesh has ordered the distribution of emergency supplies and UNICEF is working with humanitarian aid agencies to reach stricken areas. Camps have been set up for people made homeless and clean water supplies and sanitation are being provided.

UNICEF is providing money and equipment including one million water purification tablets, bleaching powder, jerry cans, spare parts for well repairs, latrines and medical supplies.

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world and suffers flooding every year during the monsoon season. The worst crisis happened in 1998 when two-thirds of the country was submerged killing 700 people and leaving 21 million homeless.

At the beginning of this year the United Nations Development Programme gave Bangladesh 14.44 million US dollars to manage disasters such as this.



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