Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is currently helping thousands of people in need following a powerful monsoon in Bangladesh, a situation complicated by a spike in COVID-19 infections. Eight of the 16 camps where HI works are currently affected.
In addition to human suffering, this massive flood has also caused huge environmental and infrastructure damage including HI facilities and many of accessibility work done by HI in camps.
"As I speak, at least eight of the camps hosting of refugees, members of the Rohingya minority from Myanmar, are literally drowning. They’ve been devastated by severe floods. Many makeshift shelters and huts, roads and facilities are under water. Several landslides have also been reported," says Rajesh Chandra, HI's programme manager in Bangladesh. “On top of this tragic situation, the Covid-19 pandemic is gaining ground: there has been a 20 per cent increase in cases over the last two and a half months. The country is in lockdown, which is making it even harder for organisations like ours to provide emergency response.”
According to an initial estimate by HI’s teams, several dozen HI beneficiaries, including people with disabilities, have already been directly affected by the disaster. A flash flood and landslide has caused a critical situation in one of the camps. It is impossible to reach some camps and the situation may spread to others if heavy rain continues.
Water logging and structural damage caused by landslide has also made the access difficult to host community.
Ensuring the safety of our beneficiaries - the most vulnerable individuals
HI has been present in the camps since 2017 and is working actively to respond to severe flooding affecting thousands of people, including people with disabilities, the elderly, women and children. The organisation has deployed its mobile emergency teams in coordination with other actors in the camps. It provides appropriate assistance to affected and injured people, including emergency rehabilitation care, such as care management, rehabilitation, the supply of mobility aids and assistance with everyday tasks, as well as emergency psychosocial support and referral to protection services.
Meeting the basic needs of people who have lost everything while protecting them from COVID-19
Thanks to its contingency stock, HI is already distributing kits containing jerry cans, soap and towels, masks and other items to protect people from COVID-19. We may make additional distributions at a later date, depending on how the situation develops.
If we are unable to meet someone’s needs, our teams refer them to other humanitarian aid providers who can.
Securing access to people affected by the disaster, checking other critical needs
HI is also sending a team of civil engineers to assess damage to facilities and houses and the mudslides. This will help us identify where repairs need to be made, and what response is required to guarantee minimum access to affected areas.
We are currently making a rapid assessment to determine the need for food, shelter, and the like. HI will continuously adapt its actions to provide targeted and useful assistance to people with disabilities, older people and the injured by providing them with personal protection equipment or equipment necessary for their autonomy, for example.