Shilpi collects water as she and her cows shelter on a tiny island surrounded by water in what was once a field

© Aminul Sawon

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.

In Bangladesh, a young woman stands up to her waist in flood waters with her flooded home in the background

© Aminul Sawon

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

In bangladesh, Fikiruallah and his son sit in their home with flood water up to their knees

© Aminul Sawon

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.

A Bangladesh Red Crescent has his arm around a man as they walk through a field with crops and one side and flood water on the other

© Shohan Abdul Jabbar /Bangladesh Red Crescent Society

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.

A Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteer gives a bag of food to a woman as people wait for their food behind her

© Kamrul Hassan, Bangladesh Red Crescent

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

Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers walk through flood water up to their waists carrying plastic bags full of clean water on their heads

© Piash Kazi/Bangladesh Red Crescent

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.

In Bangladesh, a crowd of people of all ages walks through flood water, with some children submerged up to their necks

© Kamrul Hassan, Bangladesh Red Crescent

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

Two Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers take details from a man as other men and boys look on

© Shohan Abdul Jabbar / Bangladesh Red Crescent Society

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.

A water pump stands in a flooded field

© Bangladesh Red Crescent

Outside of our project area, the wells that have not been elevated are not usable, leaving families without clean water.

Young men stand under umbrellas in the rain pumping water from an elevated well surrounded by floods

© Bangladesh Red Crescent

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.

Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers give portions of cooked food to people holding out plates

© Moynul Islam/Bangladesh Red Crescent Society

More rain is forecast in Bangladesh as well as in Nepal and India, and the situation could yet get worse.

Please support our Disaster Fund so we can use your donation where it is most needed.

This blog was updated on 1 September 2017