The United Nations on Tuesday said that severe flooding in Bangladesh, which has killed at least 54 people and affected over 2.4 million people, could be the worst since 1988.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said that some 56,000 of those impacted already have been displaced and are taking refuge in government shelters, according to a media report.

During a regular briefing, Dujarric said, “At least 54 people have reportedly been killed to date as a result”.

“The UN and our humanitarian partners are helping the government respond to the situation by providing food, water purification facilities, hygiene and dignity kits, as well as emergency shelter supplies”, he further noted.

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund recently provided UN agencies with 5.2 million US dollars to help families most at risk, the spokesman said.

“Responding to the flood is complicated by the fact that these efforts are taking place as Bangladesh is also addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and recovering from Cyclone Amphan,” Dujarric said.

According to the UN records, the 1988 floods claimed the lives of about 500 people and left more than 25 million people homeless.

Last year, at least 108 people had lost their lives due to excessive flooding triggered by incessant rains and a deluge from Himalayan rivers in India and Nepal.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had earlier urged officials to remain alert to tackle flood and said some parts of the country have been flooded and the floodwater would slowly come down to the mid areas of the country by the end of August.

Bangladesh is regularly flooded during the June-September monsoon as hundreds of rivers that feed into the Bay of Bengal burst their banks.