More than 100 people have been killed, including children, as floods, landslides and lighting strikes have battered Eastern India and Bangladesh in recent days.
In India’s Assam state, more than four million people have been affected by the floods, including at least a million children. At least 800,000 children are out of school across the state, with school buildings damaged or destroyed by wind and rain.
In Bangladesh, the entirety of Sunamganj district and at least 84% of Sylhet district are submerged. Nearly four million people are affected across Bangladesh, including 1.26 million children, and the severity is reportedly higher than the floods in 2004, which at their peak submerged half of the country.
The floods came as the region is still reeling from the worst floods in decades less than a month ago, which saw children’s ‘homes, schools and livelihoods washed away’, according to Save the Children. In the Bangladeshi district of Sylhet, May’s flooding damaged at least 93,000 homes and 419 primary schools, the aid group said.
Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe across the region as a result of the climate emergency, and children are the most vulnerable to the impacts, said the child rights agency.
Sultana Begum, Save the Children’s Regional Humanitarian Advocacy and Policy Manager for Asia, said: “Rains are still falling, water levels are still rising, and it is still too early to say what the total damage will be. But we already know that millions of people have been affected across both countries. For many this will change the course of their lives, leaving them without homes, schools and forcing them to move to temporary shelters for who knows how long.
“Everything we are hearing points towards these kinds of extreme weather events getting worse and worse. And we have certainly not seen two bouts of severe flooding happen in such quick succession before. Make no mistake, the climate emergency is already making its mark on India and Bangladesh, and it is robbing children of their homes, families, food, water, and access to education and healthcare. As an immediate step we need more aid and support to help children and their families affected by these floods. But without urgent action from the world to address the root causes of climate change, the poorest and the most vulnerable will continue to be hit the hardest.”
Save the Children India is providing relief with hygiene, education and shelter kits across Darrang and Naogaon Districts. We are also setting up child friendly spaces providing psychosocial support to children and pregnant women in need of care.
In Bangladesh, thanks to funding from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and USAID, Save the Children is supporting people affected in Sylhet with cash, food baskets, hygiene kits, water purification tablets and mental health support. In the second phase of the response we are planning to support with cleaning up schools and reconstructing homes. will provide support in school cleaning and repair/reconstruct homes.
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