UN rushes aid to Bangladeshis caught in deadly wave of cold weather

19 January 2007

United Nations agencies are working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help Bangladeshi authorities respond to a cold snap that has killed more than 130 people and affected at least 100,000 others since early this month.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced today that it has released a cash grant of $50,000 to the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh to provide warm clothes to people living in affected areas. Bangladesh has already given out 75,000 blankets to the poor in northern areas and around the country’s capital, Dhaka.

The homeless have been among the hardest hit during the current cold wave, which has damaged crops, disrupted communications and transport and spread diseases, especially among children and the elderly.

Meteorological forecasts have predicted there could be two more moderate to severe cold spells during the next two weeks. Already three districts in the north have recorded temperatures of 5 degrees Celsius, the lowest levels in 38 years.