Monsoon flood devastates Bangladesh, further flooding on the way

Emergencies, Media Releases, News article written on the 04 Jul 2012

More than 600,000 people displaced, around 20,000 houses destroyed so far

Oxfam is preparing for further flooding in Bangladesh, as the water from India’s Assam state makes its way down river.

Over the last 72 hours, Oxfam has been working with the Government of Bangladesh and other agencies to assess the impact of the ongoing floods across the country. The resulting emergency assessment reports released yesterday indicate widespread impacts across the North-East and South-East of the country.

Heavy rainfall over five consecutive days combined with existing high river levels has caused floods and landslides.  At least 132 people have died and five million are affected. More than 600,000 people have been displaced from their homes, around 20,000 houses have been destroyed completely and around 200,000 homes are badly damaged. Millions of people have lost access to safe water and sanitation, though it is too early to say whether this will be for the short or long term.

Priority needs at this point include water, sanitation and hygiene support, and emergency shelter.

In the North-East of the country the situation is beginning to improve, but there are significant new fears for communities in the North-West who are down river from the major flooding in Assam, India. Oxfam predicts the situation will worsen within the next 48 hours, and is working with our partners to prepare communities.

Oxfam is engaged in coordination and assessment efforts across the country, and is supporting the Government and partner organisations to respond in the South-East, where current needs are exceeding local capacity to support affected people.

Oxfam’s Bangladesh Country Director Gareth Price-Jones said the situation is complex and changing rapidly.

“We’re working to ensure we provide help where it’s needed, without undermining the remarkable ability of Bangladeshi communities to cope with this kind of disaster. It’s important to note that it’s still early in the monsoon, and we expect the situation to worsen, so we are ensuring we have the systems in place to provide targeted, effective aid,” Mr Price-Jones said.

In India’s North-East Assam state, where more than two million people are affected by flooding, the water is beginning to recede. However, given it is the beginning of the monsoon season, the area remains vulnerable to further rain.

Oxfam’s local partners in India are supporting search and rescue efforts by boat, and standing by to provide chlorine tablets if required. Oxfam staff are working with government and partners in Assam state to assess the needs of those affected, and are continuing to closely monitor the situation.

Media contact: Raina Hunter, Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator – 0402 145 820 or