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Mizzima: Major health threat in wes

Major health threat in western Bangladesh as floods affect millions of

Dhaka, October 4, 2000
Mizzima News Group

The severe floods which began on September 22 in Bangladesh have
affected nearly 4 million people and it has posed a major health threat
to millions of people in the country, said a statement of the
International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

In the early hours of the morning of 22 September, villagers in Meherpur
district (Western Bangladesh) were awoken by the tide of flood water
surging into their homes from West Bengal of India. In panic and
darkness, thousands fled with their families in search of higher ground,
leaving most of their belongings behind. The worst-hit districts are
Meherpur, Chuadanga, Jessore, Satkhira and Jhenidah in western

?The true extent of this disaster is still unfolding,? says Bob
McKerrow, head of the Federation?s delegation in Bangladesh. ?We are
still coming across people stranded in the tops of trees and on
rooftops. The area is awash with putrid water and our biggest fear is
that we?ll soon see some major health problems arising?, he continued.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent together
with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society have intensified relief
operations in the affected districts. However, the relief agencies are
in desperate need of more funding from international donors to continue
medical and relief operations.

Although the appeal for donor support has made, only 20% of the
Federations 3.8 million Swiss franc appeal has so far been met, said the
statement issued yesterday.