Communities in low-lying areas in Sylhet and Sunamganj have been deluged. Homes and schools as well as vital infrastructure such as power supply lines, water sources and roads are all damaged or underwater.
Many people have been affected by floods for the second time within weeks, after severe flooding also struck the region in mid-May.
The government of Bangladesh has deployed the army to evacuate people from affected areas, a mission made all the more urgent by predictions of worse flooding to come. In Sylhet, exams have been called off as schools are turned into temporary shelters for families fleeing their flooded homes.
Islamic Relief, which has been working in the flood-prone country for over 30 years, is responding to this latest disaster by distributing life-saving aid over the coming days. As well as hiring boats to reach stranded people, we will be distributing food, water purification and hygiene items.
Shabel Firuz, Islamic Relief’s Head of Asia region, says: “Many people are out of food and others will run out in the coming days. As markets are flooded and not operating, people have nowhere to buy supplies, so it’s urgent that aid gets through to them.
“People’s houses have been damaged, washed away or completely covered in the flood water. Thousands of people are looking to make their way to flood shelters where they will need a lot of support. Islamic Relief’s office in Sylhet and the homes of some our staff have also been flooded.”
Many families in the area depend on agriculture and livestock for food and income, and with precious paddy fields and pasture now underwater we are also planning to provide cash grants so that people can buy seeds, tools, fodder for animals and repair their shelters.
Islamic Relief will also be working closely with the ward disaster management committees set up through our extensive disaster-preparedness programming in Bangladesh. Made up of community volunteers, these local committees are among the first responders to crises such as these.
Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK said: “Time is now running out for survivors of the worst floods to hit Bangladesh in 18 years, as food could run out in days. There are also fears of more floods to come which would be catastrophic for those already homeless and stranded.
“Islamic Relief is on the ground and responding with life–saving aid. We urgently appeal to the public to donate and help those affected by this disaster.”