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Second round of floods expected in Bangladesh

BANGLADESH, 14 September 2007 - Bangladesh is bracing itself for potentially devastating new flooding after major rivers swelled ‘alarmingly’ and exceeded or neared danger levels, according to the governments Flood Forecasting Centre.

More than one million people have been evacuated or stranded as rivers in northeastern India and Bangladesh rose to alarming levels and submerged vast swathes of countryside. In India's Assam state, the army helped shift an estimated 800,000 people as the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries - swollen by monsoon rains - breached their embankment.

An additional 300,000 people further downstream in Bangladesh were displaced or marooned, most of them for the second time in many months.  An official bulletin said the Brahmaputra river, which flows from Tibet through India to Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal, was above the danger level in 17 places.

These floods are expected to be very serious and to pose further distress to those living in the affected districts. Many embankments had been re-built and seedlings planted but this second wave of floods could wash away the recent rebuilding and cause potential food shortages.

Government figures declared over 800 deaths since the beginning of the floods mostly from drowning and snakebites.

The fresh floods threaten major damage on newly sown rice paddies and vegetable fields - over a million hectares of land across the inundated districts. If the waters do not recede fast in these districts, these crops could be totally lost and contribute to the looming food crisis. 

As part of its emergency relief operations, UNICEF is providing essential life saving drugs, high protein (BP5) biscuits, bags of IV saline, 10,000 family kits and shelter equipment.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York, +212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Veronique Taveau, UNICEF Geneva, +41 22 909 5716, vtaveau@unicef.org




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