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Bangladesh, Asia Pacific | Flood - Emergency Appeal №: MDRBD028

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Floods in the northeastern part of Bangladesh

Torrential rain and incessant downpours from upstream regions since 15 June 2022 have resulted in the worst flooding in living memory in the north-eastern districts of Bangladesh. Cherrapunji and Mawsynram in India’s Meghalaya district, bordering the northeast part of Bangladesh, have registered record-breaking rainfall which has resulted in overflowing of the Surma-Kushiyara river basin and flooded 80 percent of the north-eastern region of Bangladesh. An estimated 7.2 million people have been affected by the flood in nine northeastern districts of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Kishorganj, Netrokona, Brahmanbaria, Mymensingh and Sherpur. Among these nine districts, the most severely affected districts are Sylhet, Sunamganj, Netrokona and Habiganj district. The affected people have been forced to leave their inundated or near-to-inundated houses to take refuge elsewhere as the water level in nearby rivers continues to rise. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) reported more than 481,827 people have been evacuated to 1,615 flood centres as of 21 June 2022. The government called in army troops, the navy, coast guard and air force to assist the civil administration in evacuating people or reaching affected people, particularly, in the hardest-hit Sylhet region.

Communications with Sunamganj district was cut off for a few days, including mobile communication, due to disruption of the electricity supply for several days since 16 June. At the same time, access to Sylhet district by air and rail became unavailable. Rail communication has been re-established on 20 June. There are fears of road communication disruption if the heavy rains continue.

The flood will increase food insecurity in the north-eastern districts as it has damaged 113,297-hectare croplands mainly Aman paddy, seedbed, maize, and vegetable and cash crops. Public, private and household grain storages have also been severely affected, further deteriorating the food security outlook according to news reports. Livestock and fisheries are also facing significant challenges as the fishing hatcheries and farms were washed away. The majority of people in these districts are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods and employment, hence, their primary means of making a living have been hugely impacted during this crisis.

Due to the floods, more than 40,000 tube wells and more than 49,000 latrines are damaged. In the collective centres, water points and sanitation facilities are enormously overburdened. In Sunamganj and Sylhet districts, most of the water supply and sanitation services are submerged. According to the WASH cluster, many women and adolescent girls are facing problem in using the WASH facilities at the collective centres.

The National Health Emergency Operations Centre and Control Room of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) recorded (dated 20 June 2022) a total of 2,492 cases of diseases and injuries. Among these cases, 1,229 are acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) cases. According to the health cluster, there is a possibility of increased prevalence of communicable diseases, particularly waterborne disease outbreaks as the floodwaters recedes. The government has been collecting detailed damage information on houses and observed that many homes were either fully or partially damaged. It was also reported that houses were completely washed away along with essential household items. With the flooding, the foundations and walls of rural houses have weakened which can lead to the collapse of more homes.

The government has postponed the nationwide secondary school certification exams scheduled to begin 19 June due to this flooding in northeast Bangladesh.

Floods in the Northern part (adjacent to the Jamuna River basin) of Bangladesh

At the same time, monsoon floods are occurring in the northern part of Bangladesh, particularly in the Jamuna River basin area. The flood waters inundated new areas in Kurigram, Jamalpur, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha, Bogura, Tangail and Sirajganj districts since 20 June 2022. According to the Situation Overview and Anticipatory Impact Analysis of Need Assessment Working Group (NAWG) dated 20 June 2022, around 3.7 million people are expected to be impacted by monsoon floods in the Northern districts of Bangladesh while the peak of the monsoon floods is likely between 25 to 30 June 2022.

Earlier in May, before this recurrence of heavy rainfall, due to continuous rains in India’s Meghalaya district since 17 May 2022 and the onrush of upstream hilly waters, the low-lying areas of Sylhet and Sunamganj districts of Bangladesh including the cities were inundated initially. The BDRCS requested the IFRC for a DREF allocation of CHF 404,434 for scaling up the local response in those two districts.