Bangladesh floods leave 3.5 million children needing clean water: UNICEF
Fears of waterborne disease rise More than 4.5 million people have been stranded and 68 people killed in Bangladesh (Photo by Simon Crowther/Twitter: @SCcrowther)
Fifteen children have drowned in flash floods that swept through Bangladesh with another 3.5 million urgently needing clean drinking water as the risk of waterborne diseases grows, UNICEF’s country representative said on Friday.
“That’s a staggering number of children and an increase over the last couple of days. Huge areas are fully underwater and are disconnected from safe drinking water and food supplies. Children need help right now,” Sheldon Yett said.
The floods have also disrupted health facilities, shut schools and disrupted malnutrition treatment for hundreds of children, Yett told a briefing in Geneva.
Meanwhile, authorities in Bangladesh are bracing for the spread of waterborne diseases.
“With the flood waters receding, there is a possibility of an epidemic. We fear the outbreak of waterborne diseases if clean water is not ensured soon,” Haque said. “Ensuring availability of drinking water is our top priority.”
More than 4,000 people have contracted waterborne illnesses, including diarrhea, in flood-hit districts, with more than half the cases in the Sylhet region, the Directorate General of Health Services said.
“The situation is alarming. We are getting more and more patients each day. They are mainly suffering from diseases like diarrhea, dysentery, fever, skin infections and other waterborne diseases,” Ahmed Hossain, Civil Surgeon of Sunamganj, one of the worst-affected districts, told Reuters.
More than 4.5 million people have been stranded and 68 people killed in Bangladesh, 46 in the worst flooding in the Sylhet region in the northeast for more than 100 years.
The floods have damaged 75,000 hectares of paddy and 300,000 hectares of other crops, including maize, jute and vegetables, agriculture ministry official Humayun Kabir said.