UN Children’s Fund seeks $13.4 million to help flood-hit Bangladesh

UN Children’s Fund seeks $13.4 million to help flood-hit Bangladesh

Floods in Bangladesh
Emergency assistance is needed to meet the needs of 25 million Bangladeshis affected by the South Asian country’s worst floods in six years, especially the nearly 1 million children living in temporary shelters and exposed to diseases from filthy water, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today in an appeal for funding.

Calling for $13.4 million, it said, “Urgent funds are needed to supply 60 million water purification tablets, intravenous supplies to manage diarrhoea and cholera outbreaks and food for infants and children. Ensuring sanitation and a supply of clean water to shelters is also a priority.”

In many population centres, including Dhaka, the capital, sewerage systems have collapsed and 1.5 million people, 60 per cent of them children, have been forced to seek refuge in shelters, according to UNICEF.

An estimated 30,000 schools were affected, half of those primary schools that had to be shut down, the agency said. More than 1,500 schools were converted into temporary flood shelters.

Diseases, such as acute respiratory infection – a major killer of Bangladeshi children – as well as diarrhoea, watery dysentery, jaundice, typhoid and scabies have been reported.

Before issuing the appeal, UNICEF already had distributed 26 tons of oral re-hydration salt to help save the lives of dehydrated children and 2 million water purification tablets, as well as food, jerry cans and hand pumps.

The waters were receding in the north, but still rising in the central region and key roads were deteriorating, hampering the aid effort, the agency reported.

Last weekend, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it had distributed 24 metric tons of high energy biscuits and 3,000 tons of rice through non-governmental organizations (NGOs). WFP is also coordinating another emergency food distribution in Bangladesh.