Deadly floods and landslides in South Asia have already killed 300 people and forced over 12 million more from their homes, as the disaster continues to escalate. During the past few days, India, Nepal and Bangladesh have experienced some of the largest floods in years, threatening millions more people.
Oxfam staff in the three countries say the situation is likely to get worse over the coming days.
The international humanitarian organisation is supporting more than 360,000 people in these countries with food, clean drinking water, emergency shelter, toilets and hygiene kits to people.
Oxfam’s Regional Humanitarian Manager of Asia Zubin Zaman said humanitarian response teams had already conducted immediate needs assessments and were now providing emergency assistance in the worst-hit areas.
“We have already started supporting people in Assam and Bihar in India, Gaibandha and Kurigram in Bangladesh, and Rautahat and Sarlahi in Nepal. But more aid must reach faster to save lives,” Mr Zaman said.
As the flood waters rise, more people will need food and water to survive. Clean drinking water, safe toilets, and hygiene supplies are essential to prevent the spread of deadly diseases. To reach people who need assistance the most, Oxfam is working closely with our local partners who are based in and are from the communities themselves.
One of Oxfam’s partners in Assam, India, is North East Research & Social Work Network (NERSWN). Its project Coordinator, Dahal Narzary, said, “The situation on the ground is grim as roads and highways are inundated, making it difficult for humanitarian teams to reach villages and areas which are cut off due to floods. We require more support and additional stocks for distribution to the worst affected communities.”
Even while the flood waters have started to recede in some areas, villages and communities remain stranded and cut off from any aid as floods and landslides have washed away roads. In many areas, there is no public transport, and power and telecommunications are down.
A full assessment will not be possible until the floods recede fully and there is access.
“We are extremely concerned about the safety and survival of those people still most at risk, especially women, children, and those with limited ability to move. We need to do all we can, as things are likely to get worse before they get better,” Mr Zaman said.
Oxfam is working closely with the three national governments and their respective local authorities and will ramp up its response as the situation changes.