United Nations, July 17 : Nearly six million people across South Asia are under threat from rising flood waters, with more than one million already displaced in Assam alone, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“The number of people affected is likely to rise and there are growing concerns about potential food shortages and disease outbreaks in South Asia,” IFRC said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to some reports, the floods from monsoon rains have killed more than 100 people.
IFRC’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific, Xavier Castellanos, said “We are seeing growing numbers of displaced and increasing loss of life with each day of rain. Entire communities have been cut off by rising waters, increasing the risk of people going hungry and getting sick.
“All of our efforts right now are focused on reaching these people and ensuring that they have the supplies and support needed to withstand coming floods.”
More than 1,000 volunteers from the Bangladesh Red Crescent, and Nepal and Indian Red Cross have been working with local aid to run search and rescue operations, and to distribute relief, the IFRC said.
Castellanos said that in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, the Red Cross and Red Crescent teams had gotten relief supplies ready before the rains so that volunteers could rush food supplies, first aid, clean water, temporary shelters and hygiene kits to flood victims.
Tallying the flood toll, the IFRC said that a million people have been displaced in Assam after the Brahmaputra river burst its banks swamping more than 749 villages.
The worst-hit districts of south-eastern Nepal are under water and inaccessible to Red Cross response teams, it said.
One third of Bangladesh is under water, displacing 14,000 people and destroying over 11,000 homes, it said. In Cox’s Bazar, which hosts 900,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, heavy downpour have caused more than 200 landslides, it added.
Meanwhile, General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa has expressed her solidarity with the people affected by floods in South Asia, according to her Spokesperson Monica Grayley.
Espinosa “expressed her sadness for the loss of lives and sent her condolences to the families of the victims, the peoples and the governments of all the five countries” — India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan — Grayley said.