DHAKA–Nearly 6 million people across South Asia were under threat from rising flood waters following heavy monsoon rains, with more than one million displaced in one Indian state alone, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers across Bangladesh, India, and Nepal are racing to deliver emergency supplies to communities and be prepared as the situation in many areas is likely to worsen in the coming days, according to a statement released by the IFRC on Tuesday.
The IFRC said the numbers of people affected is likely to rise and there are growing concerns about the potential food shortages and disease outbreaks. Xavier Castellanos, IFRC Regional Director for Asia Pacific, said: "We are seeing growing numbers of displaced and increasing loss of life with each day of rain. The entire communities have been cut off by rising waters, increasing the risk of people going hungry and getting sick."
"All of our efforts right now are focused on reaching these people and ensuring that they have the supplies and support needed to withstand coming floods."
Heavy monsoon rains and flooding cause massive displacement and deaths every year across South Asia. In India's northeastern state of Assam, over a million people have been displaced after the Brahmaputra River, which flows from the Himalayas into India, burst its banks swamping more than 749 villages.
In southeastern Nepal, the worst-hit districts are submerged under water and inaccessible to Red Cross response teams. Meanwhile in Bangladesh, one third of the country is under water, displacing 14,000 people and destroying over 11,000 homes.
Over the past week, heavy rains have caused more than 200 landslides in Cox's Bazar, a city in southeastern Bangladesh, forcing about 900,000 people to live in the makeshift camps.
"We know that preparedness saves lives. In all three countries, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams prepared supplies ahead of the rains so that volunteers can quickly deliver food supplies, first aid, clean water, temporary shelters and hygiene kits to affected communities," Castellanos said.
More than 1,000 volunteers from the Bangladesh Red Crescent, Nepal Red Cross and Indian Red Cross, have been working alongside local authorities to search, rescue and provide first aid and relief.
The IFRC said its teams in the three countries are working alongside their local Red Cross and Red Crescent counterparts to deliver relief and recovery efforts and to coordinate international assistance if needed.