As the world’s media trains its sights on the tragic events in Texas and Louisiana, another water-driven catastrophe is unfolding throughout Bangladesh and parts of Nepal and India. Some 41 million have been affected by flooding since June, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The IFRC has described the flooding in Bangladesh as the most serious in 40 years. The organization estimates that 700,000 homes have been partially or totally destroyed and up to a third of its terrain — much of it farmland — left submerged, raising fears of a coming food shortage, as the country grapples to deal with a shortfall in staple produce.
At its peak on August 11, the equivalent to almost a week’s worth of average rainfall during the summer monsoon season was dumped across parts of Bangladesh in the space of a few hours, according to the country’s Meteorological Department, forcing villagers in low-lying northern areas to grab what few possessions they could carry and flee their homes in search of higher ground.
And still the rains keep coming. In Bangladesh alone, floods have so far impacted over 8.5 million.
“Providing clean water and sanitation are our major priorities right now. The floodwaters will soon become a breeding ground for deadly diseases such as diarrhea, malaria, dengue and Japanese encephalitis,” said Antony Balmain, IFRC‘s Communications Manager in Asia Pacific.