IFRC warns of grave humanitarian crisis

Kathmandu, August 18

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding across large areas in South Asia with more than 16 million people affected by monsoon floods in Nepal, Bangladesh and India.

“This is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crises this region has seen in many years and urgent action is needed to meet the growing needs of millions of people affected by these devastating floods,” said Martin Faller, deputy regional director for Asia Pacific, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“Millions of people across Nepal, Bangladesh and India face severe food shortages and disease caused by polluted flood waters,” he added in a press release issued today. Faller warned that more than one third of Bangladesh and Nepal had been flooded and they feared the humanitarian crisis would get worse in the days and weeks ahead.

In Nepal, many areas remain cut off after the most recent destructive floods and landslides. Villages and communities are stranded without food, water and electricity. “This tragic flooding in Nepal has claimed at least 128 lives and 33 people are still missing,” said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, secretary general, Nepal Red Cross Society.

“More than 500 Nepal Red Cross volunteers are racing aid to people. Food crops have been wiped out by the floods in Nepal’s major farming and agricultural lands in the south of the country. We fear that this destruction will lead to severe food shortages,” Dhakhwa added.

IFRC has released 500,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support the response efforts of the Nepal Red Cross.