In 2017, monsoon rains triggered floods and landslides across South Asia, killing dozens of people and leaving hundreds of thousands in need of humanitarian aid.
Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and parts of China and northern India are linked in a massive interconnected river basin, which during the rainy season can unleash excess water into heavily populated low-lying areas.
This year’s rains brought significant damage to India’s Assam state before flowing downstream into northern Bangladesh, home to an enormous delta for the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers. As of August 2017, 32 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts were flooded, affecting an estimated 8.2 million people. Many families lost their crops and only form of livelihood as their farmland became inundated with floodwaters. Bangladesh’s Kurigram district received the brunt of the flood damage.
Relief International teams responded swiftly in the aftermath of the flooding, partnering with an international organization and two local nonprofits to provide 1,831 vulnerable families with cash assistance. These cash grants allowed flood-affected families to meet their most immediate needs such as food, shelter repairs, healthcare, and transportation. Each family received 4,000 Bangladeshi Taka, the local currency, which is equivalent to $50 USD.
Days of heavy rains and subsequent flooding increased the risk of an outbreak of waterborne diseases. In coordination with our partners, Relief International distributed 1,600 hygiene kits to families in flood-affected areas. These kits, which were not available on the local market, contained water purification tablets, water containers, oral saline, sanitary items, soap, and pamphlets on how to reduce the outbreak of disease.
While intense rains are common during the region’s monsoon season, which typically runs from June through October, some experts note that these rains are becoming more extreme due to climate change.
BANGLADESH — Kurigram District
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