Bangladesh floods: CARE delivers food, shelter and cash

By: 
CARE
People standing in flood water in Bangladesh waiting to receive emergency food and shelter items

In July 2016 torrential rainfall across Bangladesh burst river banks, washed entire homes away and left around 3.8 million people in 19 districts in need of humanitarian assistance. CARE immediately began distributing basic necessities like food packages including rice, molasses and biscuits, tarpaulins and cash to those in greatest need. Rajina Begum (pictured below) was one of them.

Rajina Begum in her house damaged by floods

On 15 July in the very early morning hours, floodwater entered Rajina’s house. By the next day, it was already one foot high. The water level continuously rose for the next few days and the family was torn between staying and leaving their house and land.

Like Rajina, many families were forced to such decisions as very heavy monsoon floods threatened the lives and livelihoods of 3.8 million people across 19 districts in Bangladesh. The waters damaged 250,000 houses and destroyed almost 17,000 completely – leaving thousands of families homeless.

65-year old Rajina, a widow and mother of six children, abandoned her house when the flood waters in her house rose up to five feet. They moved to higher grounds, taking everything that they could carry. They built a temporary shelter. However, within a couple of days a sudden flood with a much stronger tide washed away all that they had remaining, including food and household items. Rajina and her children finally escaped to even higher land. But they have nothing left to survive with.

Monoara Begum in her house damaged by floods

The floods washed away the livelihood 40-year old Monoara Begum (above) had been building for her children and herself. After her husband abandoned her and left her responsible for two daughters and one son, she has transformed from a housewife to crop farmer. She was proud of being able to cook three meals a day for her family – until in July the floods destroyed her house, washed away her crops and livestock, and left her water-well contaminated. With her family Monoara moved to higher grounds, where many other affected people sought shelter, and built a temporary hut with a thatched roof.

Rajina and Monora are just two of the 3.8 million affected people in urgent need of water, food, shelter and health services. As in many disasters, women and girls are often the most affected, facing gender-based violence, psychosocial difficulties, malnutrition, lack of economic or educational opportunities, and more.

Although the water has receded in many areas, CARE and partners are working to help people cope with the immediate and the long-term impacts of the floods. A total of 32,500 people will receive food, shelter materials and cash grants over the coming six months.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.