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UN rushes aid to flood-stricken Bangladeshis

UN rushes aid to flood-stricken Bangladeshis

Floods in Bangladesh
United Nations agencies are rushing aid to victims of a series of landslides in Bangladesh brought on by torrential rains in Chittagong District in the east.

The Government said that 120 deaths have been confirmed so far, and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said that 60 others have been injured. Both of these figures are expected to rise as rescue workers continue their efforts.

Local officials, Red Crescent staff, health volunteers and NGOs are endeavouring to search for survivors, but they have been hampered by the flooding, continuing rains and limited excavation equipment, according to an update from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) – which are working closely with the Government in response to the disaster – jointly deployed four teams to assess the affected areas on Tuesday.

While WHO is providing assistance in health sector management to other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), WFP is giving the Directorate General for Health Services technical support.

In addition, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is sending logistical support while supplying five vehicles, fuel and drivers to bolster rescue and relief efforts.

The UN has not received a formal request for international assistance and agencies on the ground report that local authorities are equipped with sufficient food and medicine stocks and also search and rescue capacity.

Initial reports indicate that large numbers of people have been buried under mud and debris and other swept away by the current when landslides on 11 June were triggered by heavy rains. UNICEF and WFP estimate that in the worst-hit areas, mud was as high as eight to nine feet.