Second round of Bangladeshi floods prompts UNICEF to send aid

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United Nations, Sep 15 (UNI) The United Nations Children's Fund is distributing life-saving drugs, high-protein biscuits and shelter equipment in Bangladesh, which is bracing itself for a potentially devastating second round of floods in the monsoon season this year.

More than 1 million Bangladeshis have been evacuated or are stranded as major rivers in the country and the neighbouring northeastern region of India have again risen to alarming levels and begun to inundate swathes of nearby countryside, UNICEF said yesterday.

The Brahmaputra River, which flows from Tibet through India to Bangladesh and into the Bay of Bengal, is above the danger level in 17 places, according to officials from Bangladesh's Flood Forecasting Centre.

UNICEF said it has been providing drugs, bags of intravenous saline, high-protein biscuits, shelter equipment and 10,000 family kits, which contain blankets, cooking utensils, medicines, bandages and a water container.

Since the first round of floods, which started in June and lasted in some parts of Bangladesh until August, government figures indicate more than 800 people have died, mostly from drowning or the effect of snake bites.

The second round of floods is expected to be extremely serious, UNICEF reported, noting that the embankments that have been rebuilt and the seedlings that have been planted since the first round of flooding could be washed away.

More than a million hectares of cropland - including newly sown rice paddies and vegetable fields - are now in jeopardy unless the rising waters start to recede soon.

Bangladesh's delta landscape, shaped partly by the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers, leaves the country extremely prone to flooding, especially during the annual monsoon season.

UNI

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