Sand bags line the embankments of one of the Char islands severely affected by recent floods.
Sand bags line the embankments of one of the Char islands severely affected by recent floods. (Photo: Jennifer Nolan / Concern Worldwide)

Concern Launches Emergency Response After Bangladesh Flooding Leaves 3.5 Million People Stranded

“80 percent of Sylhet and around 90 percent of Sunamganj in north-eastern Bangladesh has been submerged, according to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC),” Concern’s Country Director Fiona McLysaght said. “More than 3.5 million people have been stranded due to the floods, there are power outages in most of the affected areas, the telephone network has collapsed, roads are damaged, and a shortage of boats is hampering efforts to rescue people who are stranded.”

Markets are not operating, and the floods have damaged thousands of miles of rice and vegetable fields. An estimated 927 square miles are currently inundated, and the safety and security of women and girls in those households impacted are at high risk.

The flooding began on June 15 following a torrential monsoon rainfall in the north-eastern districts and flash floods (water) from upstream in neighboring India’s Meghalaya and the Assam region, where record-breaking rainfall was recorded.

Concern's Response

There are fears that the flooding situation may worsen in the coming days. “The river water level in Sylhet city point is above the danger level. All major rivers may continue rising in the next 48 hours. The flood situation in the Sylhet, Sunamganj, and Netrokona districts may deteriorate in the next 24 hours,” Ms. McLysaght warned.

“Urgent humanitarian support is needed in flood-affected districts. There is an urgent need for safe drinking water, jerry cans, dry food, hygiene and dignity kits, emergency latrine installation, tube well disinfection, health care support, and cash assistance to flood-affected people.”

Concern has launched an immediate response in partnership with our local partner, Friends In Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB). “We are initially focusing on ensuring rescue, evacuation, dry food packages, water purification tablets, hygiene kits targeting two of the most remote Upazila’s, Shantigonj and Biswambarpur, Sunamgonj district,” Ms. McLysaght said.

Working With Local Partners

Concern is working closely with the national disaster management authority and conducting a needs assessment with a working group such as the START Fund and the relevant local Disaster Management Committees and community groups. “We will continue to work with partners to identify unmet needs and propose response activities accordingly,” she said.

Concern is also monitoring the flooding situation across Bangladesh. Although the forecasts are within normal ranges, there is concern about the continuous rainfall and upstream flooding in India. This may cause the situation in the North East of the country to deteriorate.

Through our Zurich Flood Resilience Programme (ZFRP) and ECHO-funded Supporting Flood Forecast-based Action and Learning Programme (SUFAL), we are working closely with local partners and communities regarding locally-led preparedness and response Ms. McLysaght said.