At least 48 people were killed on Monday, June 12, and Tuesday, June 13, in landslides prompted by torrential rains in three of Bangladesh’s southeastern districts. Devastating mudslides swept away many homes, killing 26 people in Rangamati, 12 in Chittagong, and ten in Bandarban. Rescue operations are underway; the death toll is likely to rise, as many areas remain cut off.
In early June, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department warned that heavy rainfall and seasonal winds from the southwestern monsoon may cause flooding in the coming weeks in the north, northeast, and central regions. Potential affected areas included parts of the Khulna, Barisal, Chittagong, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Mymensingh, Dhaka, and Sylhet divisions.
Torrential rains and subsequent flooding and landslides hit Bangladesh on a yearly basis during the rainy season that spans from April to October. Northern and central districts were affected by massive floods throughout July and August 2016, with more than 1.5 million people affected across 16 central and southern districts; at least 60 people were killed by flood waters, while hundreds of thousands of residents were evacuated.
Flooding also poses a threat to public health as they facilitate the spread of mosquito- and water-borne diseases. There is a risk of contracting malaria throughout the year in Bangladesh but transmission occurs only in rural areas. Dengue fever is endemic and is also transmitted through mosquito bites, including in urban areas. Gastrointestinal water-borne diseases are very common; outbreaks are common during the rainy season.
Individuals present regions affected by flooding are advised to follow all instructions as issued by local authorities. Monitor any relevant developments of the situation via local media, the authorities, and reliable weather reporting outlets. Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous – 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult – and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
Due to the possible presence of mosquito-borne diseases, individuals are advised to take preventive measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites (use insect repellent, wear covering clothing, sleep in screened-in or air conditioned rooms) and destroy possible mosquito breeding grounds, which include masses of garbage and small pockets of stagnant water, e.g. water that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, vases, flower pots, clogged gutters, air conditioners, and water dishes for pets.
To minimize your risk of contracting water-borne diseases, practice good hygiene, consume only treated or bottled water, and avoid foods that cannot be thoroughly cooked or disinfected.