Shilpi’s cows are her life. Like many in Bangladesh, she makes a living from the land.
Each year, Shilpi and others in her village welcome the monsoon rains. They bring the fresh water they need to live on for the next year.
But in recent weeks, the monsoon rains have relentlessly pounded this part of Bangladesh.
Rainwater from the Himalayas is travelling down through Nepal’s lower lying areas, through swollen rivers in north-east India and eventually through the floodplains of Bangladesh.
Vast swaths of land across all three countries are under water.
Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes and their livelihoods.
Many medical facilities, schools, markets and other essential services are submerged.
A staggering 8.6 million people have been affected in Bangladesh alone – greater than the population of Scotland.
Around 1.7 million people have been affected in Nepal, and over 32 million in India.
When water takes your home
Fikiruallah and his son tried their best to save their valuables from the flood waters.
The rest of the family fled for safety, but they stayed behind to protect whatever they had left.
Flood waters have started to recede from this man’s fields.
But the crops he grows to feed his family and earn a living have been devastated.
The Red Cross’ partner, the Bangladesh Red Crescent, started helping immediately.
Over 22,000 people have already received food and there are plans to reach another 28,000.
Here, Monowara Begum receives a dry food pack to feed her family.
The Red Crescent will also help them and thousands of others repair their houses and start farming or working again.
Not a drop to drink
Ironically, clean water is often scarce during floods.
Dirty flood water contaminates wells. People may have nothing to drink except the muddy water, which can cause disease.
These Red Crescent volunteers went door-to-door carrying safe drinking water to families whose water sources were destroyed.
These families are wading through flood water to reach the Red Crescent’s food and drinking water distribution.
They are also giving out containers to store clean water. And we will help to rebuild wells once the water recedes.
Successful support will continue
The Red Cross and Red Crescent have worked in the Kurigram district of Bangladesh for five years. Our projects help nearly 138,000 people cope when disaster strikes.
The impact of our work is already showing.
Outside of our project area, the wells that have not been elevated are not usable, leaving families without clean water.
Where we worked, our project helped people build elevated wells that can provide clean water during floods.
Even when the monsoon rains are at their height, families can still use their wells.
More rain is forecast in Bangladesh as well as in Nepal and India, and the situation could yet get worse.
Please support our South Asia Floods Appeal so we can use your donation where it is most needed.
- Give to the South Asia Floods Appeal
- How we’re helping in Bangladesh
- Grants, ducks and cyclones: seven lessons from Bangladesh
This blog was updated on 1 September 2017