23 Aug
  • By James Evans

Nepal’s humanitarian crisis in the making

As long monsoon rains continue to sweep across parts of Nepal, India and Bangladesh the death toll is now an estimated 175 people, though that is likely to rise far higher in days to come as the full extent of the damage is revealed. The rains have triggered a series of flash floods and mudslides which have devastated northern and eastern India, Southern Nepal and parts of Bangladesh. Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes.

So far, an estimated 200,000 thousand people are living in emergency accommodation in one region alone in Northern India, due to the flooding. At least 20,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Nepal but the number is likely to be far higher it’s just too soon to know. Bangladesh disaster management minister, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury, has estimated that as many as 600,000 people are marooned and that nearly 400,000 people have taken refuge in emergency government accommodation.

Rescuers search for survivors and bodies after Tuesday's massive landslide in Rangamati district, Bangladesh, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Rescuers struggled on Wednesday to reach villages hit by massive landslides that have killed more than a hundred while also burying roads and cutting power in southeastern Bangladesh, officials said. (AP Photo)

Nepalese police yesterday announced that 48,000 homes have been submerged. In Nepal, the worst of the flooding has occurred in the region of Tarai, which also happens to be the country’s most fertile agricultural area and extremely important economically, which could have dire consequences on people’s lives even if the flooding recedes and stops.

The Nepal Red Cross has deployed in full force to help searches for survivors and provide support. Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, Secretary General of the Nepal Red Cross Society noted that “First aid and relief supplies have been provided around the clock by hundreds of volunteers from the Nepal Red Cross Society.” However, The Nepal Red Cross warned that shortages of safe drinking water and food could create a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished Himalayan country. Many services such as transport, infrastructure and telecommunications have been hit in many regions, however, efforts to bring power and telecommunications back seem to be working.


There are reports that elephants have even been deployed to help rescuers reach people trapped in remote regions. Rafts and boats are being used too, while some helicopters will be brought in to help.

Events like these really do highlight the trouble poorer nations can find themselves in as natural disasters seem to occur with increased frequency. Similarly, it shows just how important services like the Red Cross can be in limiting the damage and helping people survive and rebuild.



“Red Cross in Action” Nepal Red Cross, 2017. http://www.nrcs.org/updates/red-cross-action

“Rains cause landslides, flood in many states; claim 57 lives” The Times of India, 2017. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/rains-cause-landslides-flood-in-many-states-claim-57-lives/articleshow/60048178.cms

“Floods kill 175 in India, Nepal and Bangladesh” Channel News Asia, 2017. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/floods-kill-175-in-india-nepal-and-bangladesh-9122014

“Scores die, millions displaced, by monsoon floods and landslides in three countries.” Breaking News.ie 2017. http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/scores-die-millions-displaced-by-monsoon-floods-and-landslides-in-three-countries-802033.html

“Millions affected as monsoon floods ravage Nepal, India and Bangladesh.” Al Jazeera, 2017. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/floods-landslides-kill-dozens-nepal-india-170813132206327.html

“Nepal floods: Elephants deployed in rescue efforts” BBC News, 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40917407