UN, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Dhaka, An estimated 7.2 million people have been severely affected in Bangladesh following devastating flash floods that began in May with a second wave beginning around June 15, according to the UN.

In a statement, the UN said that among the nine districts, the most affected are Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulivazar, Habiganj and Netrakona, reports the Xinhua news agency.

According to the statement, the Bangladeshi government has evacuated more than 472,000 people to some 1,605 shelters.

There is a large-scale coordinated response operation under strong government leadership, according to the UN.

The UN and NGO partners are supporting these efforts by providing food aid, clean water, cash, emergency medicine, water purification tablets, dignity and hygiene kits. and educational support to affected families.

On 2 and 3 July, a joint mission of the UN, humanitarian donors and NGO partners visited the flood-affected districts of Sylhet and Sunamganj.

According to the statement, Unicef ​​is on the ground to protect children and provide clean water, nutrition and health services and supplies.

It reallocated $2.8 million in internal resources to meet emergency needs and provided life-saving support to nearly one million people.

In addition, the World Food Program (WFP) distributed 85 tons of fortified biscuits to 34,000 households in three districts.

Apart from this, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provided referral support to pregnant women to access hospitals and positioned midwives to provide 24/7 emergency obstetric support. /7.

UNFPA also runs maternity waiting homes for pregnant women awaiting institutional delivery.

And the World Health Organization (WHO) has provided 250,000 water purification tablets to those affected.

Despite these efforts, and due to the scale of the floods, there are still inaccessible areas that are cut off from relief or relief, the UN said.

Shelters remain overcrowded as floodwaters slowly recede and damage to homes is widespread. This has resulted in a lack of space and privacy which makes women, girls and children particularly vulnerable.

In addition, some 60,000 women in the affected areas are pregnant. Among them, some 6,500 will give birth next month. With overwhelmed and non-functional primary health care centers, most of these women have limited or no access to health care.

Where the water has receded somewhat, more families will return to damaged homes, others will have to rebuild from scratch. Damaged latrines and water points will also need to be repaired.

The children have already lost three weeks of school and their books have been taken away. This is in addition to the loss of enrollment due to Covid-related school closures in 2020-2021.

The UN said the humanitarian response plan requests $58.4 million to meet the basic needs of more than 1.5 million targeted people in five heavily affected districts.

Aubrey L. Morgan