Bangladesh Floods – Heavy Rain Threatens Further Flooding as UN Distributes Food to 150,000

According to a report issued earlier today, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has provided emergency food assistance to more than 150,000 people in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh after the floods that first struck during late June.

Bangladesh has been hit by further heavy rain over the last 48 hours, increasing fears that the flood situation may worsen.

Relentless heavy rainfall that began around 24 June caused deadly floods and landslides in the south-eastern districts of Cox’s Bazar and neighbouring Bandarban. As many as 23 people died and 35 injured. Hundreds of communities were stranded by the flood water. The Bangladesh Disaster Management Information Centre says that about 120,000 people are still stranded.

WFP, in partnership with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and the Australian Government, has used dozens of boats and trucks to deliver over 100 metric tons of emergency food supplies to the four worst-affected areas of Chakaria, Pekua, Cox’s Bazar, Sadar and Ramu.

Many of those receiving assistance, which consists of vitamin and mineral-fortified high energy biscuits, have lost their homes, businesses, farms and livelihoods. They are now vulnerable to food insecurity and worsening poverty.

“Flash floods and landslides made the distribution of food very challenging but even remote areas were reached within a matter of hours,” said Christa Räder, WFP Representative in Bangladesh, noting that WFP’s operation appropriately complemented the Government’s emergency response.

In addition to providing food, WFP also offered coordination support for other humanitarian agencies in the area. It is now conducting an assessment of remaining humanitarian needs in Cox’s Bazar district.

Further Flooding Possible

Bangladesh has seen high levels of rainfall over the last 48 hours, and there could be more to come.

At least 15 areas of Bangladesh have recorded more than 100 mm of rain in 24 hours between 08 and 09 July. Barisal, in southern Bangladesh, saw over 200 mm of rain during this time.

Earlier today, Bangladesh Meteorological Department, issued a rainfall warning for Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Dhaka Divisions. They said:

Due to active monsoon over Bangladesh, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur at places over Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Dhaka Divisions during the next 18 hrs commencing 4pm / 16:00 local time, 10 July 2015.

Rainfall Figures

Figures below for a 24 hour period between 08 and 09 July 2015, from Bangladesh Meteorological Department / Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB).

Barisal -202.0
Barguna – 162.7
Panchpukuria – 157.0
Narayanhat – 128.5
Tangail -120.0
Bhagyakul – 115.5
Chittagong – 113.0
Kushtia – 112.7
Cox’s Bazar – 109.0
Faridpur – 108.5
Ramgarh – 105.0
Pabna – 101.4
Comilla – 100.0
Khulna – 97.0
Patuakhali – 93.0

River Levels

River levels are rising across the country. Out of the 84 monitored river level stations, 52 showed an increase yesterday. As of 09 July 2015, three stations reported rivers above danger levels: the Khowai at Ballah, the Kangsha at Jariajanjail, and the Halda at Narayan Hat.

The rise in levels of the Halda at Narayan Hat will be of major concern to those carrying out relief operations in Chittagong district. The river rose steeply from 11.57 metres on 08 July to 15.25 metres on 09 July, although appeared to drop slightly earlier today, 10 July.

Last month the district saw record high river levels. The Matamuhuri at Chiringa in Cox’s Bazar district stood at record levels between 25 and 26 June when it reached 7.40 metres, beating the previous record of 7.03 metres, according to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB).

Submerged houses after floods in bangladesh. Photo: Bangladesh Department of Disaster Management
Submerged houses after floods in bangladesh. Photo: Bangladesh Department of Disaster Management