Deadly floods and landslides have already killed 300 people and forced over 12 million more from their homes as the disaster continues to rip through South Asia. During the past few days, India, Nepal and Bangladesh have experienced some of the worst floods in years threatening millions more people.
Oxfam says the situation is likely to get worse over the coming days.
The international humanitarian organization has moved in to support over 360,000 people in these countries with food, clean drinking water, emergency shelter, toilets and hygiene kits to people. Oxfam’s aid team has already conducted immediate needs assessments and are now providing emergency assistance in the worst-hit areas.
“We have already started supporting people in Assam and Bihar in India, Gaibandha and Kurigram in Bangladesh, and Rautahat and Sarlahi in Nepal. But more aid must reach faster to save lives”, said Zubin Zaman, Oxfam Regional Humanitarian Manager of Asia.
As the floods rise, more people will need food and water to survive. Clean drinking water, safe toilets, and hygiene are essential to prevent the outbreak of deadly disease. To reach them, Oxfam is closely working with our local partners who are based in and from the communities themselves to reach those who need assistance the most.
One of Oxfam’s partners in Assam, India is North East Research & Social Work Network (NERSWN); its project Coordinator, Dahal Narzary, said “The situation on the ground is grim as roads and highways are inundated, making it difficult for humanitarian teams to reach villages and areas which are cut off due to floods. We require more support and additional stocks for distribution to the worst affected communities.”
Even while the floods have started to recede in some areas, the villages and communities remain stranded and cut out from any aid as floods and earth slips washed away roads. In many areas, there’s no public transport, and power and telecommunications are down.
Early estimates put the cost of supporting people hit in the short and mid-term at USD 20 million, but the total damage is likely to be much more. A full assessment will not be possible until the floods recede fully and there is access.
“We are extremely concerned about the safety and survival of those people still most at risk, especially women, children, and those with limited ability to move. We need to do all we can – including raising more aid, as things are likely to get worse before they get better,” said Zaman.
Oxfam is working closely with the three governments and local authorities and will ramp up its response and as the situation changes.