Asha and her newborn survived a night of flooding on their rooftop
When the floodwaters came, Asha’s family rushed to their rooftop for safety. The young mum spent the night there with her 28-day-old daughter, four other children and her in-laws.
As the water receded, they climbed down to see the damage. Three feet of flood water had inundated their kitchen and swept away their food supplies. The danger wasn’t over: there was little left to eat and the thick, dirty sludge left through their house could expose Asha and her family to disease.
A UNICEF officer speaks to Asha about keeping her daughter safe after the floods. © UNICEF/Shrestha
"You have to make sure none of this filth gets to the baby," said Sunita, a water, sanitation and hygiene officer for UNICEF, as she handed out a hygiene kit to Asha. UNICEF distributed more than 600 of these kits packed with two towels, soap, a comb, a nail clipper, sanitary pads, sets of toothbrushes and a toothpaste, and a five-metre rope to use as a clothesline.
"All night I was kept awake by my baby daughter who kept crying for us to go home," says Sunita, another mother from the district. "Now when I bring her home she keeps saying 'water' and urges me to take her away."
"You might get infected with typhoid, jaundice, eczema, diarrhoea, or worm infection," says UNICEF staff member Ashok explaining to locals how they should use the hygiene kit properly to avoid falling ill. © UNICEF/Shrestha
How UNICEF is helping children
UNICEF can lead the response for children when an emergency strikes. We’re there before a disaster, helping communities plan ahead and, with permanent offices in more than 190 countries, we’re prepared for rapid response.
Right now, our teams are protecting children from the floods in South Asia.
- In Bangladesh, we're providing emergency hygiene kits and water purification tablets to keep children safe from deadly but preventable disease.
- In Nepal, we're supplying medical tents and surgical kits to communities in crisis and we're giving families the basic supplies they need to survive, including buckets, mugs, tarpaulins and blankets.
- In India, we're urgently assessing children's needs and ready to support the government with the humanitarian response.
Tarpaulins are loaded onto trucks from a UNICEF warehouse in Kathmandu, Nepal, ready for rapid delivery to families.