DHAKA – A new assessment of food needs in flood-affected Satkhira district shows that more than 150,000 people will require food and other assistance over the next 12 months. The report, published by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), indicates that flooding in July has caused prolonged displacement, crop damage and food insecurity.
The assessment also highlighted that in the most affected unions in Satkhira district, 30 to 60 percent of croplands remain underwater. The prolonged high water levels led to the failure of the Aman harvest in December and the report predicts the Boro rice harvest in May will also be severely affected, with long-term impact on food production and employment opportunities.
"Thousands of poor families have been devastated by the flooding,” said Christa Räder, WFP Representative in Bangladesh. “Families remain stranded on embankments, unable to return to their homes and with little access to food and shelter. There is a significant risk that without additional support the situation will worsen, putting thousands of women and children at risk.”
The report calls on the government and development partners to provide continued support to the women, men and children most affected by the floods. According to the NGO Action Contre la Faim, levels of acute under-nutrition in children under five have increased from 5 percent in September to 27 percent in November, almost double the emergency threshold of 15 percent.
Since the floods, WFP has been providing emergency food and cash support to 30,000 affected households with the support of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). Special nutrition support is also being provided for children under five and pregnant and breast-feeding women who are most at risk.
“WFP and other development partners continue to support the worst-affected and most vulnerable people. However, the situation remains serious and a strong response is needed,” said Ms Räder.