Dhaka: Floods in southwest Bangladesh have
inundated vast swathes of farmland, affecting nearly a million
people, many of whom are stranded on embankments with no food
or shelter, officials said today.
Heavy monsoon rains in recent days have caused at least
five rivers to burst their banks, flooding more than 1,000
square kilometres of farmland in the remote Satkhira district.
"Nearly a million people have been affected by floods
in Satkhira. Among them, 120,000 people have been displaced,"
district administrator M. Abdus Samad said.
The government has stepped up relief efforts in the
area, Samad said, adding that those who have lost their homes
are staying in a network of 284 temporary relief centres and
are receiving emergency rations.
More than 1,500 tonnes of rice and a large quantity of
high-energy biscuits have been distributed by government
workers to the displaced families, he said.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is also providing
emergency food assistance to 57,000 people affected by floods
in Satkhira, the agency said in a statement.
"A vast number of ultra-poor people are stranded on
embankments, with no access to food and shelter," said Michael
Dunford, the acting WFP Country Director.
Bangladesh is criss-crossed by more than 200 rivers and
is regularly hit by floods during the monsoon season, spanning
from June through September.
The country receives some 80 percent of its annual
rainfall during the monsoon, when heavy rain water gushes from
two Himalayan rivers -- the Ganges and the Brahmaputra --
causing many local rivers to breach their banks.