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What has happened?

Since 9 July 2019, heavy monsoon rains have triggered flooding in the low-lying areas of Bangladesh. Around one-third of the country is now underwater.  

Flooding during the monsoon season is an annual event. But continuous rain and flooding in neighbouring Nepal and India have had an impact in Bangladesh’s two major river systems in the north.

This has resulted in water levels rising to their highest in 100 years (source: IFRC).

Bangladesh is no stranger to water-related disasters like extreme flooding. 

In August 2017, heavy monsoon rains above the seasonal average severely impacted the riverine region of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. This led to intense flooding in almost two-thirds of Bangladesh (source: ReliefWeb).

The impact of the disaster

damage after flooding in Bangladesh

The floods have been devastating for the communities affected.

Floods and landslides have damaged roads and vital infrastructure leaving thousands of people stranded and without electricity. More than 66,000 homes have been destroyed.

Food and clean water shortages are being reported, as well as a rise in waterborne diseases like malaria.

Flooding can be extremely damaging for communities that experience it. Access to clean water is usually scarce, leading to serious health concerns like disease outbreaks.

Find out more about floods and how they can affect people

Source: ReliefWeb

How many people have been affected?

flooding in Bangladesh 2019
  • As of 30 July, 7.3 million people have been directly affected (source: UN Bangladesh).
  • Around 308,800 people have been forced to leave their homes in search of higher and safer ground. 
  • More than half a million homes have been damaged or completely destroyed, leaving even more families with no shelter or protection. 
  • 85% of the overall displacement has taken place in the nine most affected districts Jamalpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Sylhet, Sirajganj, Tangail, Sunamganj, Bogra and Bandarban. 

How is ShelterBox responding?

We have a team on the ground who have taken needs assessments to understand what people need to start recovering from the disaster. 

Our team in Bangladesh has met with local Rotary and government contacts as well as key humanitarian partners. These partners include the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS), who we partnered with back in 2017. 

Families have told us that they need more space and protection from the elements. They have also told us they would use shelter kits and tarpaulins to avoid crowding in host families’ homes by creating more living and cooking space.

Tarpaulins were also identified as useful items for future flooding events. 

The response is targeting the flood-affected char communities of Kurigram in north-western Bangladesh, focusing on families who have lost their land to river erosion. 

The word char refers to floodplain sediment islands (‘island chars’) or sand bars that are connected to the mainland (‘attached chars’).

Island chars remain disconnected from mainland either seasonally or throughout the year.

Distributions of aid are currently underway, with over 500 families receiving essential aid items so far.

Aid items families need

Shelter kits

A selection of hardwearing tools and materials that help families rebuild their homes.



Two sheets of heavy-duty tarp can be used to create walls and roofs.

Previous flooding in Bangladesh

Bizli from Bangladesh.
Bizli and her family lost their home when floods devastated their village on the banks of the Brahmaputra river in Bangladesh, in 2017. Families received ShelterKits, tarpaulins, solar lights, and blankets to allow them to recover and rebuild their homes.

In July and August 2017, torrential rains and floodwater from upstream caused widespread flooding and rapid riverbank erosion. Homes, land and livelihoods were destroyed.  

The flooding in Northern Bangladesh was widespread. At its worst, more than a third of the land was submerged. More than 70,000 homes were completely destroyed, and 500,000 were partially damaged. 

We supported people like Bizli, who woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of water rushing into her home.  

Working with the Bangladesh Red Crescent and Rotary, ShelterBox supported 3,000 families with tarpaulins, mosquito nets and solar lights. These crucial aid items enable families to get on the road to self-recovery. 

Read Bizli's story