Bangladesh: Cyclone Komen Emergency Appeal, n° MDRBD015 - Operations Update (16 September 2015)



The monsoon depression over the northeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh coast have intensified into Cyclone Komen on Wednesday, 29 July 2015, causing further downpours in the regions already affected by the previous flash floods and landslides which had started at the end of June 2015. Cyclone Komen made landfall on 30 July, weakening as it moved slightly towards the northeast. Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Bandarban, Noakhali, Feni and Bhola districts were significantly affected. At least 7 people (2 of them were children) were reported dead, 38 missing, and a number injured due to the cyclone. Based from the rapid impact assessment conducted by the Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT), a total of 2.6 million people are affected, more than 218,000 households are in need of emergency assistance. Meanwhile, Government district level ‘D-form’ data immediately after the disaster indicated many houses were flattened or went under water, trees uprooted, power supplies were disrupted, and communication systems ceased to operate in some places. Crops were damaged and shrimp projects flooded. Due to the impact of the cyclonic storm “Komen”, heavy to very heavy rainfall was active all over the country and many areas of the southern Bangladesh were inundated which includes most of the areas affected by the first spell of flooding. Consequently the lives and livelihoods of the people of those areas further worsened. A Need Assessment Working Group (NAWG) was formed to identify the damage and needs of all these areas affected by the Cyclone Komen and subsequent flooding. This assessment was commissioned by the Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT) and was covered ten districts. The cumulative effect of the floods followed by Cyclone Komen increased the affected population to 2.6 million people. The impact of these events will be felt most acutely by the extreme poor1. It is estimated that 218,665 people (57,774 households) fall within this demographic. The HCTT also produced a Joint Response Plan (JRP) based on the assessments undertook in different stages. The JRP has proposed immediate to longer term response strategy as well as the packages based on the inputs from different clusters, mainly Food Security, Shelter, WASH and Early Recovery clusters. This EA has been designed in line with the JRP strategy and has maintained a good coordination with the National humanitarian stakeholders. The Government has already responded with rice and cash in many of the affected areas while a number of humanitarian organizations and UN agencies have responded with food assistance, health and WASH relief. Humanitarian donors like ECHO and DFID has mobilized fund to its partner INGOs to support the response in line with the JRP.

The IFRC Bangladesh Delegation requested for Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 11 August 2015 to support 3,000 families in the five districts of Chittagong, Bandarban, Cox’s Bazar, Feni and Noakhali with the provision of unconditional cash grant primarily to meet their food needs for one month. In addition to that, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) provided from its Disaster Preparedness stocks 3,000 tarpaulins, 30,000 packets of ORS and installed two mobile water treatment plants to address the emergency needs of the affected population. Within three weeks of the start of the operation, BDRCS completed the distribution of its first phase of unconditional cash grant, 3000 BDT/person. In the second phase of the emergency operation the same beneficiaries will receive 6000 BDT for additional two months.

Following the launch of the DREF, on 24 August 2015, an Emergency Appeal (EA) was launched to support a total of 6,500 affected families to address their Food, WASH, Livelihood and Emergency Shelter needs. Out of these 6,500 families, the EA has targeted 4,000 families to support with cash grant for food, and emergency shelter through tarpaulin. Another 2,000 families have been planned to support through safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene promotion. Apart from these 500 families will be supported through livelihood cash grant in a later stage of the operation.

Part of the effort to ensure beneficiary engagement and accountability, BDRCS has established a Complaints and Response Mechanism (CRM) to enable the beneficiaries to offer valuable feedbacks on the goods and services delivered, and enable the field staff to take necessary and timely actions. Mobile technology based survey utilizing the RAMP2 (Rapid Assessment through Mobile Phone) has been introduced in the operation for the beneficiary identification and selection process. The National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) members and the RC youth volunteers were involved during the RAMP survey with support from the IFRC and BDRCS NHQ staff. The survey provided baseline information of the targeted beneficiaries in a systematic way, and minimized time, cost and inconsistency in data collection.

As of 11 September, the Appeal coverage is CHF 53,906 (or 6 per cent). Support to the Appeal includes Canadian Red Cross Society, and Japanese Red Cross Society. Other support currently in the pipeline includes American Red Cross, British Red Cross, and Swedish Red Cross. Partners and donors are encouraged to contribute the current funding gap of CHF 803,018. Click here for the latest donor response list.

While BDRCS and IFRC as well as the other humanitarian partners are dealing with the cyclone Komen and flooding in the South Eastern part of Bangladesh, the North and Central part of Bangladesh is experiencing flooding since the last week of August 2015. The country is experiencing heavy to very heavy rainfall in the Jamuna and Brahmaputra River basin since last week of August. At the same time the upper catchment area of India, namely Assam, Meghalaya and some part of West Bengal also experienced heavy rain. These rains in the adjacent catchment area have influenced the cross boundary river water levels to rise and in many cases exceeding the danger levels for days. The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC)3 data shows that around 15 to 24 rivers are flowing over danger level since the rain started. Due to these reasons, some lower and riverside parts of Northern and Central Bangladesh have been experiencing flood. In many places the excessive onrush of river waters has created river erosion and embankment breaching.

An Aerial Survey was conducted on 30 August in the Northern districts to observe the flooding situation and the potential damage on housing, agriculture, and infrastructure and to map of the scale of displacement. The initial analysis of the survey findings indicated that there is currently no perceived need for coordinated needs assessment at this time but the situation should be monitored through sharing of GoB sitreps, FFWC reports and NGO/INGO reports. Currently it is reported through INGO emergency sub-committee that around 223,367 households are affected in 39 Upazilas of 9 districts. Floods have already caused extensive damage to crops in different parts of the country. It is feared that the magnitude of loss will go up if the water does not recede from submerged farmlands within five to seven days. One of the national daily newspaper quoted from the Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) of Kurigram district that about 45,000 hectares of crops will be damaged permanently even if the flood water recede quickly and there is no fresh flooding. The Government has allocated GR rice and cash in the areas worst affected by the floods, but it is insufficient for current needs. Government district level ‘D-form’ data for all the areas affected is yet to be released.