South Asia Floods – Red Cross Steps Up Relief Efforts

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) steps up relief efforts as floods affect millions across South Asia

New Delhi, September 9th, 2014. In recent days and weeks, monsoon rains have led to serious floods and landslides that have claimed over 1000 lives and affected millions of people across regions of Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

In Nepal, a massive landslide on 2 August killed over 100 people and left 153 missing. Continuous rainfall caused extensive flooding and further landslides in 21 districts throughout the country. 250,000 people were affected at the peak of the floods and so far, Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) has reached more than 25,000 people with non-food relief items, including clean water, improved sanitation and emergency shelter. The IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal of 2.4 million Swiss francs (USD 2.5 million / Euros 1.9 million) on 27 August 2014 to help 50,000 people to recover from the floods. While Nepal regularly experiences localized flooding during the monsoon season, this is the worst situation experienced since the Koshi river floods in 2008.

Nepal Red Cross volunteers distributing non-food relief items to flood affected families in Dang District , Nepal. Photo: IFRC / NRCS
Nepal Red Cross volunteers distributing non-food relief items to flood affected families in Dang District , Nepal. Photo: IFRC / NRCS

The IFRC is also preparing to launch an appeal for floods in Bangladesh. Since the second week of August, heavy rainfall in the main river basins and upstream catchments of India as well as the northwest and north-eastern parts of Bangladesh have caused flooding across 20 districts mainly in the North of the country.  More than three million people are affected with 315,000 displaced from their homes. Over 150 staff and volunteers of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society have been deployed and have so far provided emergency relief and medical care to over 20,000 people. The situation is described as the worst flooding since the ‘mega floods’ in 2007, when more than 10 million people were affected.

Across India, the south-west monsoon has triggered floods that have affected more than 3 million people. The death toll has risen to over 1,000 across the worst-affected States of Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir.

Photo: IFRC. Indian Red Cross in Srinagar
Photo: IFRC. Indian Red Cross in Srinagar

In recent days, Jammu and Kashmir has experienced the State’s worst flooding in 50 years. Ten districts are heavily affected, over 150 people have died and thousands remain cut-off. The floods have damaged roads, dozen of bridges, buildings and thousands of hectares of cropland. Srinagar is severely affected as the river Jhelum breached embankments in several parts of the city. Volunteers from the Indian Red Cross have been supporting evacuation efforts of people stranded by the floods and emergency supplies including tents, blankets, kitchen sets and tarpaulins have been airlifted to Srinagar. More than 15,000 people have been evacuated and Red Cross emergency responders are experiencing difficulties in providing sufficient shelter for the high number of evacuees.

In Pakistan, Four major rivers in the east of the country overflowed bringing flash floods in the Punjab, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) regions.  Over 190 lives have been lost and more than 28,000 people have been affected.  Pakistan Red Crescent Society has been closely monitoring the situation and has deployed disaster response teams to each affected province who have been distributing relief assistance. Based on preliminary assessment reports, the Red Crescent is planning to support 35,000 people with food and non-food items, emergency health services as well as emergency shelter.

Photo: IFRC / PRCS  Pakistan. Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 2014 A response team member of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society issues an alert on a mega phone to people near the junction of Jhelum and Neelum rivers in Muzaffarabad district.
Photo: IFRC / PRCS
Pakistan. Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 2014
A response team member of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society issues an alert on a mega phone to people near the junction of Jhelum and Neelum rivers in Muzaffarabad district.