Deadly floods continue to torment millions; Oxfam responds

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Oxfam in Asia - South Asia Floods

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 organisation 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 have 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 extremmely 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.

 

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Notes to editors: 
  • Oxfam spokespeople are available for interviews. 
  • View and download photos of the flood damage in the camps at https://wordsandpictures.oxfam.org.uk/pages/search.php?search=%21collection38182&k=80086f94c9 All photos should be credited as given.
  • Bangladesh is near the beginning of monsoon season, which will last until September. Weather monitoring stations in Cox’s Bazar registered 700mm of rain in the week to Monday 8 July. Average rainfall for July in Chittagong, the province in which Cox’s Bazar is located, is 733mm 
  • Oxfam and its partners are providing vital aid including clean water and food to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. So far, we’ve helped more than 266,000 people. You can donate to Oxfam’s Rohingya Crisis appeal here  
Contact information: 

For more information interview opportunities please contact: 

Regional Media: Nipuna Kumbalathara Nipuna.Kumbalathara@oxfam.org. Communications and Media Lead; Tel/WhatsApp: +94 (0) 71 4873333;

Email: nipuna.kumbalathara@oxfam.org; Skype: Nipuna.Kumbalathara

 

Oxfam spokespeople are available for interviews.

India: Pankaj Anand, Programme Director, Pankaj@oxfamindia.org 

Nepal: Shree Bhakta Basnet, Head of Humanitarian and DRR; email: SBasnet@oxfam.org.uk 

Bangladesh: Atwar Rahman, Acting Humanitarian Program Manager arahman1@oxfam.org.uk