DHAKA (XINHUA) - Four million people, including 1.6 million children, stranded by flash floods in northeastern Bangladesh are in urgent need of help, said the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) here Monday (June 20).
In a statement, Unicef said it is on the ground to protect children and to deliver emergency water and health supplies.
"Children need safe drinking water right now. Preventing deadly waterborne diseases is one of several critical concerns," said Mr Sheldon Yett, Unicef representative to Bangladesh.
He said Unicef has already dispatched 400,000 water purification tablets that can support 80,000 households with clean water for a week.
Unicef said it is working to further support the government of Bangladesh's emergency response with millions of water purification tablets, more than 10,000 water containers known as jerry cans, and thousands of hygiene kits for women and adolescent girls.
Unicef said it is also procuring emergency medical supplies for district health facilities.
In the northeastern Sylhet division, according to Unicef, 90 per cent of health facilities have been inundated, while cases of waterborne diseases continue to rise.
Children are at heightened risk of drowning, already one of the major causes of child deaths in the country, it said.
Over 36,000 children have taken refuge in overcrowded shelters together with their families, said Unicef.
It said schools have been closed, and exams cancelled, further hampering the education of children who already suffered an 18-month pandemic school closure.
Unicef said at least eight children have lost their lives.
"Our heart goes out to the children whose lives have been lost. Children are the most vulnerable in this desperate situation. Unicef is working around the clock with authorities and our partners to meet the immediate needs of children," said Mr Yett.
Unicef is urgently seeking US$2.5 million (S$3.5 million) in funding for the emergency response as it provides life-saving supplies and services to children and families affected by the flooding.