UN: 60,000 women pregnant in flood-affected regions

During the recent floods, 177 women delivered children who need special care and treatment, says an official

An estimated 60,000 women are pregnant in the flood-affected regions of nine northeastern districts, including Sylhet and Sunamganj.  

About 6,500 of the babies are due to be delivered within four weeks, and as many as 1,000 deliveries are likely to be complicated.

UNFPA Representative Kristine Blokhus disclosed the estimates at a press briefing arranged after a UN Joint Mission visited the flood-affected areas of Sylhet and Sunamganj on Saturday.

During the recent floods, 177 women delivered children and these women need special care and treatment, she said.

Speakers at the press briefing stressed the need for immediate and concerted relief and rehabilitation operations in Sylhet and Sunamganj districts, devastated by the recent floods. 

Such floods were not experienced in the last 122 years, they said, adding that women and children are the worst sufferers. 

In addition to Kristine Blokhus, the briefing was addressed by UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis, Unicef’s Shelden Yett, FCDO’s Yatt Cannell, and Start Fund’s Country Manager Sajid Raihan.

The North-Eastern part of Bangladesh has been devastated by torrential rains and flash floods due to heavy rainfall upstream of the Surma, Kushiyara and other rivers of the Brahmaputra basin linked to the region. Flash floods in the same region took place in May this year, they said.

According to the Needs Assessment Working Group (NAWG), 7.2 million people have been affected by the crisis and are in severe need of immediate food, water and cash support alongside shelter, protection and WASH support. 

Most of the areas in Sylhet and Sunamganj had been out of reach for several days due to extreme flow of flood water, leading to further increasing the impact.

The first alert for flood was raised by Start Fund Bangladesh member agencies on May 23,  within six days of the heavy rainfall. Several organizations have received support following the alert. 

According to the Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief, 472,856 people had been taken to around 16,05 shelters in a combined effort by the Army, Navy Fire Services and local authorities and volunteers, the speakers said.

More floods could be on the cards this season as La Nina conditions prevail over the eastern tropical Pacific. 

On June 27, the Ministry of Disaster Management and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office endorsed a response plan for six months till December this year. 

The strategic objectives of the plan are urgent lifesaving and livelihood assistance provided for the affected communities, affected people enjoying a safer and healthier environment for living and vulnerabilities reduced and safety, dignity and resilience of the most vulnerable populations restored.

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