An estimated 7.2 million people (about 3.5 million children) have been affected by the flash flood in north-eastern part of Bangladesh and need immediate lifesaving support
Flash floods are putting children and women at high risk of drowning, water borne diseases, family separation, Violence Against Children and Women (VACW), including Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Intimate partner violence.
Water truck and other supply vehicles are facing difficulties to reach the most affected people. Many households are isolated due to road damage and the relief operations are encountering logistical challenges.
UNICEF activated contingency partnership with local NGO (Friends In Village Development Bangladesh) where Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education and C4D life-saving support will be provided to 645,000 affected people including 255,420 children and 15,480 people with disability.
• UNICEF has reprogrammed US $500,000 of its internal resources to procure emergency lifesaving supplies that include 5,000 dignity kits, 10,000 hygiene kits, about 44,000 jerry cans, antibiotics for children and other items.
• UNICEF urgently needs US $2.5 million to support the Government-led response to reach children and families affected by the floods with lifesaving services.
An estimated 7.2 million people are affected by this sudden flash flood and water congestion in seven north-eastern districts of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulivazar, Habiganj, Kishorganj, Netrakona and Brahman Baria. Among the seven districts, five heavily impacted are Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulivazar, Habiganj and Netrakona. The floods hit at a time when affected communities were still recovering from unseasonal floods in late May 2022. Some 459,567 people have been evacuated to 1,432 safety centres.
Regular water source at high risk of contamination with microorganisms, sewage, heating oil, agricultural or industrial waste, chemicals and other substances, sanitation facilities are poor and unhygienic, all can cause serious illness and putting strain on the already affected health facilities. According to the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE), 44,254 water points and 49,885 sanitation facilities have been damaged and 90 per cent of health facilities have been inundated in Sylhet division, while cases of waterborne disease rose from 1,700 to 2,173 as of 21st June. Evacuation centres are not adequately equipped with the required provisions to ensure the safety and security of women, girls, and children. More than 3,300 Government Primary schools are affected and about 2,400 non-formal learning centres are sub-merged in seven districts.
On 21st June 2022, the inter-cluster meeting was held to discuss the latest situation and the coordinated engagement in the flash flood response. As a follow up, the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief will hold the Humanitarian Coordination Task Team meeting on 27th June 2022 to discuss the needs assessment findings and agree on a coordinated response plan to complement the GoB-led response.
Immediate needs and UNICEF support
As of 21st June, a cumulative number of 2,173 people got affected by waterborne diseases in Sylhet division. To date, UNICEF provided 750,000 Water Purification Tablets (WPTs) for 75,000 households for 7 days (15 L per family for a day). Additionally, 13 Trucks carrying 1,000,000 WPTs, 9,000 Jerricans and 2,000 dignity kits arrived from Cox's Bazar Field Office and nine trucks unloaded to complement the ongoing life-saving water trucking supported by DPHE in Sylhet. These additional supplies will support 175,000 people including 87,500 children and 2,000 adolescents and female members.
429 medical teams are supporting the flood-affected people in Sylhet (140), Sunamganj (123), Moulvibazar (74) and Habiganj (92) districts. UNICEF supported Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP) project staff are supporting Sylhet City Corporation medical teams.
UNICEF mobilized its internal resources to support the request of the government partner to procure 250,000 packets of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), 8,000 tablets of Azithromycin and 10,000 tablets of Metronidazole. Due to elongated power cut, UNICEF and WHO jointly coordinated with District Health Authority to transfer the COVID-19 and vaccines for childhood diseases and other routine vaccines from two upazilas to District EPI store in Sylhet.
This also ensured the safe storage of vaccines in Sunamganj district through alternative backup. In addition, the health facilities in Sylhet will receive the 168 cartons of therapeutic milk, 15 sets of Nutrition kits and 15 sets of anthropometric equipment etc.
UNICEF is working to ensure unaccompanied and separated children, including children with disabilities, have access to services and support of family reunification and prevention of VACW and GBV. UNICEF provided 1,800 Dignity Kits and 10 tents, reaching 1,800 adolescent girls in Sylhet (500) and Sunamganj (1,300). 10 tents will be used as safe spaces for women and girls and recreational spaces for children in Sylhet and Sunamganj. The dignity kits will be distributed through the Department of Social Services in Sylhet, Sunamganj and City Corporation. 50,000 dignity kits are being procured and expected in approximately two weeks. The kits will benefit 50,000 adolescent girls in Sylhet and Sunamganj.
Education for children has been disrupted, more than 3,300 Government Primary schools and over 260 Secondary schools are affected in seven districts, Additionally 980 primary schools and all the secondary schools have been used as shelter in the affected districts. A total of 2,471 non-formal learning centres are sub-merged in seven affected districts. Alternative learning has also been suspended considering the safety and security of the learners. UNICEF will distribute 634 Education in Emergency (EiE) kits to cover 126,800 primary-aged children (63,400 girls) in the floods affected areas once schools open as most of schools have been used as shelter.
The Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) Consortium partners NGOs supported by UNICEF C4D in Sylhet region have been redeployed for disseminating massages on hygiene and sanitation, Acute Water Diarrhoea prevention and water treatment, including COVID-19 communication. Overall, approximately 610,000 people (40 per cent of children) in Sylhet division have been reached with messages on the prevention of drowning, waterborne disease, electric shock, as well as preventing family separation and snake bites through District Information Offices, Bangladesh Betar and Islamic Foundation.