Worst monsoon rains in over a century submerge most of northeast Bangladesh, devastating lives of over 4 million people – Bangladesh

Monsoon rains – the worst in 122 years – flooded major rivers in northeast Bangladesh and submerged thousands of homes, affecting 4.3 million people. The worst is yet to come as flooding worsens and access to affected areas is hampered, Oxfam warns today.

“Tens of thousands of people in 10 districts are now trapped as flood-affected areas reach their peak. Thousands more are at risk of losing their homes and potentially their lives as water levels continue to rise in the coming days,” says Ashish Damle, Oxfam Country Director in Bangladesh.

All Surma, Kushiara, Sari, Luva and Dhalai rivers, which span 64 Upazilas in Sylhet, Sunamganj, Molvibazar, Habiganj, Netrakona and Brahmanbaria districts, continue to rise – some above danger levels. The floods submerged up to 80% of some districts, knocking out electricity and internet and forcing flights to a halt. In Chhatak Upazila in Sunamganj, several hundred homes, more than 200 educational institutions and at least 100 fish pens have been totally submerged in recent days.

Thousands of stranded people, many of them pregnant women, girls, the elderly and people with disabilities, wait on the roads and in temporary shelters. They urgently need food, clean water, financial assistance and sanitation services. But the lack of campaign boats and water congestion make it difficult to reach those affected.

“Oxfam, together with our local partners, is responding to affected areas, supporting people with cash assistance and water and sanitation services, including repairing tube wells and installing latrines. But the situation is spiraling out of control very quickly and we need more support to scale up our operations,” says Enamul Mazid Khan Siddique, Oxfam’s humanitarian program director in Bangladesh.

Oxfam aims to provide 150,000 people with water, cash and other vital services, but urgently needs $10 million to scale up operations.

Climate change has aggravated the flooding situation in India and Bangladesh in recent years. Heavy rains in parts of the north and northeast of the country as well as neighboring states of Assam, Meghalaya and India’s sub-Himalayan West Bengal are expected to continue in the next 72 hours, potentially putting thousands of lives at risk.

Contact information

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact

Mutasim Billah
Campaigns and Media Specialist, Oxfam in Bangladesh
bmutasim@oxfam.org.uk, skype: talk2mutasim

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