Publish date July 24, 2019
At least 4.8 million people are displaced and at least 666 people have died in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and the Kashmir region, including in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, where at least 23 inches of rain have fallen this month. The Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh shelter over 700,000 people who fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar in mid-2017. The camps are built on sandy ground that washes away easily in heavy rain.
Officials say the number of landslides is increasing due to the deforestation that took place to make space for the refugee settlements. Despite 30,000 refugees being moved away from the most landslide prone areas last year, deaths from landslides have been mounting in the camps since April and destroyed thousands of makeshift homes.
The World Food Program reported that 11,400 people required extra food assistance in the first two weeks of July 2019 compared to 7,000 in all of July 2018.
Beyond the refugee camps in Bangladesh, one third of the country is underwater. People are also dying from lightning strikes with at least 78 killed and 120 people missing. In the Kashmir region, flash floods have killed at least 26 and at least 21 people are missing. More than 1,800 villages in India's northeast Assam state have flooded because the Brahmaputra River overflowed its banks. At least 467 people in India have died, with several districts currently cut off from aid. In Nepal at least 78 have been killed with 29 people reported missing following landslides.
Also in Assam state, at least 80% of the Kaziranga National Park is under water. Of the 51 animals reported dead in the park, at least 10 are one-horned rhinos. Almost two-thirds of the world's population of this species lives in Kaziranga.
More rain is anticipated in the coming week and many rivers are still rising. More deaths are expected to be reported. This is early for such severe flooding in the monsoon season that lasts from June to October. The emergency is not over. More rain is on the way.
ActionAid: USA, our Kerala Monsoon Flooding Appeal beneficiary last year, has already been working to support Rohingya refugees. ActionAid has a women-led, women-centered approach to supporting the refugees since women face increased exploitation during emergencies. Working with women and girls, local ActionAid staff set up eight women- and girls-only spaces where they can receive private medical care including trauma therapy. ActionAid is also consulting the women on what a safe and secure return to Myanmar would look like for them if it is possible at all.
Since the monsoon emergency started, ActionAid has been coordinating with the Disaster Management Unit, a volunteer group of Rohingya volunteers managed by ActionAid. They continue to assess the situation as it unfolds and provide assistance, including rapid emergency support, messages about safety and security, medical support, and providing necessary items such as sandbags, bamboo, rope, and wires. 50% of the ActionAid response team is local women including volunteers, officers, and staff.
As this disaster continues and more information is received, FBB may choose additional avenues for supporting those affected.
The Humanist Disaster Recovery program is sustained through a partnership between Foundation Beyond Belief and the American Humanist Association (AHA).
We thank AHA for their generous support of our efforts.