A girl stands in a flooded street in Sylhet, North-East Bangladesh.
Emergency Response

Floods in Bangladesh: How UNICEF Is Delivering Relief & Protection to Children

Over 2 million people — including over 772,000 children — are feeling the effects of severe flooding in northeastern Bangladesh. UNICEF is there.

As floodwaters rise, children are the most vulnerable

Flooding in northeastern Bangladesh, the result of heavy monsoon rainfall, is affecting over 2 million people, UNICEF reported on Tuesday, June 25.

Much of the Sylhet district (75 percent), including over half the area's crops and paddy fields, are submerged, threatening livelihoods and food security. 

Over 772,000 children are facing heightened risks of drowning, malnutrition, waterborne diseases and trauma from displacement related to the crisis. 

“Our priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of children and adolescents," said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh, noting the risk of potential abuse in overcrowded shelters. “Child Protection Social Workers are offering support to mitigate potential violence and counseling to help children overcome trauma during this difficult time." 

Water and sanitation infrastructure across the region has suffered major damage. Hundreds of schools were flooded. Dozens of child protection community hubs — UNICEF-supported facilities hosting a range of activities for children — were also flooded and partially damaged.

UNICEF has been working with the Government of Bangladesh and its many local partners to help mitigate health and safety risks. Relief measures include distributing safe water and other lifesaving supplies and helping to shore up health, social and protective services in flood-affected areas. 

Children and families impacted by flooding in North-East Bangladesh receive emergency supplies from UNICEF.
On June 20, 2024, in collaboration with the government of Bangladesh and local partners, UNICEF distributed jerry cans, water purification tablets and hygiene kits to meet the immediate needs of flood-affected children and families. © UNICEF/UNI597015/Mukut

Social workers, counselors and volunteers are on the ground reaching children with psychosocial and other support.

UNICEF has also deployed frontline workers alongside hundreds of community facilitators and peer leaders to assist with service delivery and to disseminate information on how to stay healthy and safe. Sessions about drowning and snake bites have reached thousands of people. 

Addressing urgent needs while strengthening disaster preparedness, disease prevention

On top of addressing immediate dangers and meeting urgent needs, UNICEF is also working to help strengthen the country's overall disaster preparedness and build resilience to future shocks. Meetings among various agencies are being organized to improve coordination and collaboration among emergency responders and key stakeholders and help ensure a comprehensive approach — to this response and those to come. 

Bangladesh, already prone to flooding, has become increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather and related disasters linked to climate change. 

Related: How UNICEF is responding to the climate crisis

Cases of acute watery diarrhea often spike during crises like these, where access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is disrupted. UNICEF-supported medical teams have been deployed to shelters and communities to distribute oral rehydration salts and other medicines. UNICEF also supports public information campaigns focused on disease prevention.

As of June 25, UNICEF had reached over 230,000 people with jerry cans, water purification tablets and hygiene kits, and had helped deploy four mobile water treatment plants. 

Read the latest situation report for more details about the UNICEF response to flooding in Bangladesh.

UNICEF staff member kneels beside a child affected by the flooding in North-East Bangladesh at a distribution point for emergency supplies.
Children interact with UNICEF staff at a supply distribution point in Sylhet. © UNICEF/UNI596906/Mukut

Learn more about what UNICEF is doing in Bangladesh for children and families in need.

UNICEF responds to hundreds of humanitarian emergencies every year. Support UNICEF's mission. Donate today.


TOP PHOTO: A girl wades through floodwaters in Sylhet, northeastern Bangladesh. UNICEF is supporting the government's emergency response efforts, helping to mitigate heightened risks of drowning, malnutrition, waterborne diseases and trauma from displacement among children in flood-affected areas. © UNICEF/UNI596316/Mukut