Humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh as floods leave victims stranded, suffering, and close to starving

A third of Bangladesh is underwater, and a Kiwi aid worker thinks the world needs to pay more attention. 

Around 1200 people have been killed after a monsoon swept across the south Asian country.

The shocking scenes in Bangladesh have left Red Cross spokesperson Corinne Ambler in disbelief. 

Ms Ambler flew over Bangladesh's northern provinces, and told Newshub the damage is immeasurable.

She said the main thing that stuck in her mind was a young woman.

"One young pregnant mother that I talked to about when the flood water came into the house said it was knee, waist-deep and the children started screaming because there were snakes in the water.

"Looking out the window all you could see was water, water as far as the eye could see, with little tiny clumps of houses dotted in between what looked like great big lakes."

At its peak on August 11, the equivalent of around a week's worth of average rainfall during the summer monsoon season was dumped across parts of Bangladesh over just a few hours.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) estimated that at least 1200 have died in the catastrophe, and more than 41 million people have been affected by monsoon rains and severe flooding as of June this year.

IRFC has described the flooding as the most serious in 40 years, and estimates 700,000 homes have been partially or totally destroyed.

Entire homes, crops, food and livestock have all been washed away, raising fears of a coming food shortage.

Ms Ambler said people were "fearful they would soon begin to starve".

"They're used to seasonal flooding but nothing to this degree- this is a different level- for miles around all you can see is water, the flooding has transformed the countryside."

The devastation comes during the season of rice cultivation, and almost half of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single most important product.

CNN reported that recent figures show 31.5 percent of Bangladeshis live below the national poverty line. For many, the smallest drop in crop production can prove devastating.

As of August 31 more than 51,000 people were relocated to emergency flood shelters set up by the government, and that number is expected to rise as food shortages increase, sparking what many fear could be a major humanitarian crisis.

The rains have also destroyed parts of Nepal and India, and are heading for Pakistan.