Mercy Malaysia sends team to Bangladesh

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia) will be deploying a team to Bangladesh today to provide aid as the country struggles to cope with its worst flooding in years.

MERCY Malaysia in a statement today said it would be deploying its rapid assessment team consisting one MERCY Malaysia staff, one medical volunteer and one logistics volunteer to initiate and assess the needs on the ground and prepare for further assessment for the recovery phase and further intervention for two weeks from today to Sept 7.

According to the statement, severe heavy floods caused by monsoon rains hit northern districts of West Bengal, Bangladesh with more than 100 people reported dead and five million people affected had sent an alarm to the international community .

"A total of 531,517 houses damaged in 24 districts, leaving large displacement of civilians affected to relocate to temporary shelters. The ongoing floods which expanded into one third of the country's districts have resulted in severe water level rise and water contamination.

"This has caused water-borne disease cases to spike up, with water and sanitation systems broken down and no access to proper hygiene and sanitation as well no access to clean water as most of tube wells have gone under floodwaters, the displaced community risks exposure to various water-borne diseases such as acute watery diarrhoea, respiratory infections, skin diseases, typhoid, eye infection, jaundice, fever and headaches," the statement said.

MERCY Malaysia was very concerned on the exacerbation of water-borne diseases during post-flood, it said.

Its president Datuk Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus (rpt: Perdaus) said MERCY Malaysia was very concerned over the safety of civilians affected by the severe floods that hit Bangladesh.

"Following the floods, there are significant concerns about the possibility of disease outbreaks, with affected people facing challenges in accessing adequate clean water and health care. This is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crisis … urgent action is needed.

"With the increasing number of displaced people and lack of space in safe locations, ensuring access to wash water sanitation and hygiene are much needed. Disease surveillance and vector control is also a priority with the risk of communicable diseases. Over the past few months, health partners have recorded a significant increase in water-borne diseases," he said.

MERCY Malaysia is calling for the public to contribute to its Bangladesh Relief Fund by donating via website at www.mercy.org.my or contact MERCY Malaysia via phone at 03-21422007.— Bernama