Anticipatory Humanitarian Action - Pilot: 2020 Monsoon floods in Bangladesh

Manual and Guideline
Originally published


Severe monsoon flooding in Bangladesh can be predicted. With pre-arranged financing support, including by CERF, the humanitarian community can act in support of vulnerable households to mitigate the impact of flooding, protecting lives and livelihoods

Executive Summary

In some years monsoon flooding in Bangladesh is intense and surpasses the ability of communities to cope, leading to deaths and the destruction of key infrastructure, livelihoods and homes. This creates widespread humanitarian needs with longer term development consequences.

It is often possible to predict severe monsoon flooding events and a targeted anticipatory approach can lead to a more timely, effective, efficient and dignified solution to respond to and ultimately reduce humanitarian needs.

Under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator (RC), and building on previous experience, the objective of this pilot is a more effective, timely and dignified humanitarian response for beneficiaries in anticipation of severe monsoon flooding of the Jamuna River in Bangladesh in five highly vulnerable districts.

In line with best practice, the pilot combines three pre-agreed components: forecast and triggers; anticipatory actions; and, finance. In addition, the pilot includes pre-agreed elements on evaluation and learning.

The pilot rests on a two-stage trigger:

▪ Stage I: A pre-activation (readiness) trigger is reached when the water flow at the Bahadurabad gauging station over a period of three days is forecasted by the GloFAS and/or the FFWC 15-days forecast model with lead time 10 days to be more than 50% likely to cross 100 000 m3/s (1 in 5-year return period).

▪ Stage II: An activation trigger is reached when the water level at Bahadurabad is forecasted by the FFWC 5-day lead time model to cross the government-defined “Danger Level” + 0.85 meters.

Given the short lead times, unconditional cash is a major component of the pilot. Bringing together the reach of WFP and the RCRC, 61,500 vulnerable households will receive US$53 each ahead of a flood (55,500 WFP, 6,000 BDRCS).

In addition to cash, FAO will support 14,000 households with (1) protection of livestock (feed, water, vaccines, medicines, and emergency veterinary services) and (2) with flood-proof storage of agricultural and productive assets (e.g. tools, seeds).

UNFPA will protect some 15,000 vulnerable women and girls with lifesaving services focused on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and Psychosocial Support (PSS). This includes distributing reproductive health, menstrual hygiene and dignity kits.

To enable these anticipatory actions, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has set aside US$5.34 million ($4.25 million for WFP, including subgrant to RCRC, $500,000 to FAO, and $589,084 for UNFPA. These funds will be released at the monsoon season’s first trigger of the 10-day pre-activation to cover essential readiness activities. Full use of the funds can be made once a 5-day activation trigger is reached.

An important part of this pilot is learning at three levels: process; agency specific monitoring and evaluation; and through an independent evaluation.

This pilot builds on – and reinforces - existing protocols and tools in Bangladesh, including existing coordination mechanisms under the leadership of the RC. The pilot is a contribution to the overall efforts in Bangladesh, including by the Government, to move towards more wide-reaching anticipatory action more broadly.

Finally, due to constraints, including operational (e.g. COVID-19), availability of resources, and short timeframes, the pilot is very focused, prioritized and targeted to concrete and achievable outcomes.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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