21 November 2017
Volunteers on the ground help in the flood-affected districts, providing food, water and relief items to the most vulnerable. Corinne Ambler, IFRC

Volunteer medical teams reach trapped flood survivors in Bangladesh

Volunteer Sonali Rani Das works as a nurse and has been a member of the mobile medical team since 2011. Currently the team is seeing 200 patients a day, all presenting complaints about the recent catastrophic floods that hit Bangladesh.

 We are seeing a lot of women and children. They have problems like skin infections, eye infections, scabies, diarrhoea and asthma. We have even seen snake bites. When I see the children, I take the mother’s blood pressure and check her over too,” she explains.

The team travels by any means it can, from three-wheel taxis to tiny boats, often crossing bamboo footbridges, and all while carrying a sack of medical supplies.

Sonali, who is also an assistant professor of nursing, joined the Red Crescent as a volunteer 30 years ago and loves this part of her job.

It’s very satisfying. I’m very happy I can help people and take care of the poor.”

The team keeps working without a break until every person is seen. Then they pack up their medicine in a sack and get back on the boat, ready to do it all again the next day.

As of September 2017, there have been more than 13,000 cases of illness reported, including diarrhoea and respiratory, skin and eye infections.

The floods were the worst in Bangladesh for almost 40 years, killing 145 people and impacting 8.2 million. Around 600 hectares of crop land have been damaged, and three quarters of a million houses destroyed or damaged.

Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has 1,200 volunteers on the ground helping in the five worst-affected districts, providing food, water and relief items to the most vulnerable. The Bangladesh Red Crescent mobile medical teams hope to reach 30,000 flood survivors across the country to treat diseases caused by contaminated flood water. 

This story is published as part of the campaign for International Volunteer Day 2017: Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.

Asia and the Pacific
IVD 2017 #VolunteersActFirst floods health Bangladesh
SDG 3: Good health and well-being SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
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