Death toll reaches 129 in the country
A total of 102 people, mostly children, have drowned so far due to excessive floods in almost half of the districts of the country. The floods have been dubbed as the worst in recent years.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said on Wednesday in its daily update of flood situation that a total of 129 people had died till now in the flood-affected areas of the country.
As many as 150 upazilas in 31 northern, north-eastern and south-eastern districts of Bangladesh are being ravaged by the floods this year.
According to the DGHS report, drowning is the major cause of death as it is responsible for around 80% of the deaths that have occurred.
The second highest cause of death is snakebite (13), followed by death from lightning (12). The rest of the people died from diarrhea while one person’s reason of death was not mentioned in the report but it was confirmed that that was also related to the floods.
According to the DGHS, some 14,336 people were provided with medical services from 2,632 medical teams working in the flood-affected areas.
The report mentioned that 5,665 people had diarrhea, 1,553 people had respiratory tract infection (RTI), and some 2,513 people had skin diseases.
Dr Ayesha Akhter, DGHS Assistant Director and Chief of Health Emergency Operation Center and Control Room unit, said the report was prepared in coordination with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief control room.
“Our medical teams are working in the flood-affected areas and very few people have died from waterborne diseases this year. But what we are noticing is that drowning has emerged as the major cause of death,” she said.
Aninda Rahman, deputy program manager at Communicable Disease Control (CDC) of DGHS, said: “Usually waterborne diseases increase during floods. However the government had taken precautionary measures, including distribution of water purification tablets at division level. So this time deaths related to waterborne diseases are lower than usual.
He also said that the government had taken extra measures to tackle the situation if the flood condition deteriorated.
Meanwhile, in a press release, Care Bangladesh said over 3.3 million people in Bangladesh had been affected till July 28.
According to UNICEF, among the people estimated to have been affected by flooding, around 1.3 million would be children, who are the major victims of drowning.
CARE Bangladesh Country Director Ramesh Singh said: “The flood situation is worsening rapidly while waterborne diseases are spreading in some areas. People are already battered by Covid-19 and river erosion is taking a devastating turn in some regions.”
He praised the government for taking various measures and stated that the UN was closely supporting the government response.
“As experts have predicted, floods may continue till mid-August and concerted efforts are needed from all quarters, including NGOs, UN agencies and donors under the leadership of the government,” he added.