As monsoon rains continue to pound South Asia, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that the sheer size and scale of the resulting floods, as well as the massive numbers of people affected, poses an “unprecedented challenge” for governments and aid agencies in their relief efforts.
The UN estimates that some 20 million people are believed to be affected in India, Nepal and Bangladesh in what is being described as the “worst flooding in living memory.”
According to UNICEF, hundreds of thousands have lost their homes, possessions, livestock and fields and will have to begin their lives from scratch when flood waters recede.
Among the most urgent needs are shelter and access to fresh water, food, emergency medical supplies and basic household items.
Last Friday, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it is sending up to three months worth of emergency rations to some 60,000 flood victims in Nepal.
However, given the number of families affected and the remoteness of the impacted areas, the agency estimates that it will need some $1.5 million to meet the basic food requirements of the flood victims in the Himalayan country.
Severe weather during this year’s monsoon season has wreaked havoc across South Asia in recent weeks. In addition to those suffering in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, some two million people were affected by devastating flooding in Pakistan when Cyclone Yemyin struck the country in late June.