Floods affect 16 mln in Nepal, India and Bangladesh
Dhaka (Xinhua) : A humanitarian crisis is unfolding across large areas in South Asia, with more than 16 million people affected by monsoon floods in Nepal, Bangladesh and India, said the International Federation of Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in a statement received here Saturday.
"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," Martin Faller, deputy regional director for Asia Pacific, IFRC, was quoted as saying in the statement.
"Millions of people across Nepal, Bangladesh and India face severe food shortages and disease caused by polluted flood waters," Faller said.
Flood levels have already reached record highs in Bangladesh, according to local authorities. Flooding of major rivers such as the Jamuna has surpassed levels set in 1988, the deadliest floods the country has ever faced.
"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.
In Nepal, many areas remain cut off after the most recent destructive floods and landslides, on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12. Villages and communities are stranded without food, water and electricity.
"This tragic flooding in Nepal has claimed at least 128 lives and 33 people are still missing," said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, secretary general of Nepal Red Cross Society.
"More than 500 Nepal Red Cross volunteers are racing aid to people, including tarpaulins for temporary shelter, food and water.
Food crops have been wiped out by the floods in Nepal's major farming and agricultural lands in the south of the country. We fear that this destruction will lead to severe food shortages," Dhakhwa added.
In Bangladesh, floods are likely to get much worse as swollen rivers from India pour into the low-lying and densely populated areas in the north and center of the country.
In India, over 11 million people are affected by floods in four states across the north of the country. India's meteorological department is forecasting more heavy rain for the region in the coming days.
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