Flooding in Bangladesh: 7.2 million need help, Red Cross says

Relief agencies said on Tuesday that hundreds of thousands of homes near the Bangladesh-India border were under water, with entire neighborhoods flooded in the hardest-hit areas.

At least 207 people have died in both countries since the flooding began in April, according to official figures.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), heavy rains have caused rivers in Bangladesh, a densely populated delta country, to burst their banks, flooding areas bordering the Indian state of Meghalaya.

About 94% of Bangladesh’s Sunamganj city and 84% of the surrounding Sylhet district are currently flooded, according to IFRC. Roads leading to the region are largely blocked, and electricity is cut off even in areas not under water.

Save the Children said the floods “washed away homes, schools and livelihoods”, damaging at least 93,000 homes and 419 primary schools in Sylhet in May alone.

“We have never seen such flooding in our memory in this region,” said Kazi Shofikul Azam, secretary general of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.

Bangladesh has about 700 rivers, making it particularly vulnerable to flooding during extreme weather events. The IFRC estimates that the total number of people in Bangladesh in need of assistance is 7.2 million.

Meanwhile in the eastern Indian state Assamwhich neighbors Bangladesh, the flooding has displaced more than 270,000 people, according to authorities.
Millions affected by deadly floods in India and Bangladesh

Parts of the state of Meghalaya received the most rainfall in decades, causing large river systems flowing between India and Bangladesh to burst their banks and flood the surrounding areas.

The Bangladesh Red Crescent is spending $10 million on relief and recovery operations. Volunteers on the ground distributed food and drinking water.

IFRC launched emergency appeal raise another $7.8 million, which he says could help 300,000 more people.

Relief agencies say those communities most affected by the floods tend to be already impoverished.

Additional reporting by Esha Mitra and Swati Gupta of CNN in New Delhi.