What has happened?
Devastating flooding across South Asia has affected more than 40 million people and resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 people. The situation could get worse as the monsoon rains continue across the region.
In India, more than 943 people have been killed and more than 1.1 million people have been displaced. A further 30 million have been affected. There has been extensive damage to vital infrastructure with 12,400 schools in Bihar state affected by the floods. The floods have also caused massive damage to agricultural land and livestock, impacting 400,000 hectares of crops in Assam alone.
In Nepal, 159 people been killed by the flooding and landslides. 91,400 families have been displaced and over 192,000 homes have been damaged.
In Bangladesh, nearly one third of the country has been submerged, resulting in the death of more than 140 people, almost 200,000 being displaced and affecting a further 8.2 million people.
Schools, hospitals and other public buildings across all three countries have also been damaged by the floods.
What are the needs of people affected by the flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal?
There are a range of urgent needs, including the provision of temporary shelter, clean drinking water and food for affected families.
There is also an urgent need to provide health, hygiene and sanitation support to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases like cholera.
Laxmi Joshi, Caritas Nepal’s Disaster Management Program Manager, said:
“Many houses are still inundated with water, and so people are having to live outside their homes. They can’t cook food, and so we are supporting them with dry food for now. It is still raining at night, and so the flood waters are not receding. If the situation continues, waterborne diseases and health problems could be a major challenge.”
40-year-old Janardhan Sharma, from Sunsari in southern Nepal, lost his eight-month-old baby girl to the flooding in August when he and his family climbed on the roof of their house to escape surging floodwaters after the nearby river Tenga broke its banks.
“The flood took my world away because my baby is still missing,” he says. “It’s been 22 days and still there are no signs of her return. If God existed then he would bring back my life.”
Janardhan is the only breadwinner for his family and has no land or livestock. But he and his wife are struggling to overcome the loss of their child. "Life ceased for a moment,” he said. “My wife is suffering from high fever. She vomits and gets unconscious from time to time. She is facing psychological trauma due to loss of our baby.”
Support our Emergency Response Team
The Emergency Response Team is funded by our loyal regular donors who have chosen to specifically support our emergencies work.
Many humanitarian situations can escalate quickly so having regular donations that we can depend on gives us the flexibility and agility we need to respond and react to emergencies whenever they strike.
How is CAFOD responding?
We have partners are in India, Bangladesh and Nepal who are providing urgent support to the most vulnerable and marginalised communities devastated by the floods.
Caritas India has deployed staff to the flood affected areas. It is supporting families by providing temporary accommodation, the distribution of personal hygiene and sanitation kits for women and girls, and psychological support for people who have been affected by the flooding.
Caritas Bangladesh are providing emergency relief support to those affected, including cash transfers so people can buy the basic food and non-food items they need. They are also helping repair and reconstruct damaged houses, and giving training on building safer homes.
Caritas Nepal are providing flood-affected families with cooked meals as well as dried goods, clean drinking water and temporary shelter.
Why is there severe flooding in South Asia?
Although August is typically monsoon season in the region, the incessant rainfall has led to the worst flooding seen in the region in decade. It is widely accepted that climate change brings an increased risk of floods and could have a role to play in the severity of the monsoon rains.
How can I help?
CAFOD and the Caritas network are providing emergency relief to affected communities.
CAFOD Director Chris Bain said: “The devastation of 40 million people displaced by the flooding in South Asia risks becoming a hidden emergency as the world's attention focuses elsewhere.
“The Church has been at the forefront of the emergency response but there is still much more to be done. We urge our supporters to stand with us in prayer with these affected communities and to donate to our Appeal so we can continue to support those in the hardest to reach communities.”