Floods affect 16 million in Nepal, India and Bangladesh

Flood levels reach record highs in South Asia with more than 400 dead and hundreds injured and missing

18 August 2017, 2:37pm
Last updated on 18 August 2017, 2:47pm
Volunteers are working non-stop alongside local authorities to help communities prepare for worsening floods (Photo: Associated Press)
Volunteers are working non-stop alongside local authorities to help communities prepare for worsening floods (Photo: Associated Press)
More than 16 million have been affected by monsoon flooding across the South Asian countries of India, Nepal and Bangladesh – putting huge numbers at risk of disease, hunger and death.

Over a third of Bangladesh and Nepal have been flooded, says Martin Faller, deputy regional director for Asia Pacific at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"This is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crises this region has seen in many years and urgent action is needed to meet the growing needs of millions of people affected by these devastating floods," Faller said.

"Millions of people across Nepal, Bangladesh, and India face severe food shortages and disease caused by polluted flood waters," he added.

According to official reports, more than 400 people have died in the three countries over the last seven days, with India accounting for 239 fatalities, 128 dying in Nepal, and 39 in Bangladesh.

Flood levels had already reached record highs in Bangladesh. Flooding of major rivers such as the Jamuna surpassed levels from 1988, the year of the deadliest floods the country has ever faced, the humanitarian agency said.

"More than one-third of Bangladesh and Nepal have been flooded and we fear the humanitarian crisis will get worse in the days and weeks ahead," Faller said.

Aid group Save the Children director Mark Pierce said the situation is "extremely desperate".  

"The sheer volume of water is also making it really difficult to access some of the communities most in need," he said in a statement.