Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Cyclone Komen Emergency Appeal Operations Update n°3 (MDRBD015)

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The operation is in its fifth month and continues to support the affected vulnerable families in food security, emergency shelter and water and sanitation (WatSan) sectors in a scalled down approach in terms of number of beneficiaries as the appeal is not fully funded. In addition, the operation also has a component on awareness and advocacy on disaster risk reduction (DRR) for the affected communities which was supposed to be initiated in December 2015. As of now, the Appeal coverage is CHF 373,281 (or 44 per cent of the total requested). Based on the availability of funding, it is not possible to implement all the planned activities under DRR components. This has resulted in the re-prioritisation of activities to focus on the most critically needed. BDRCS took the initiative to conduct an awareness session on DRR in the targeted affected communities for the beneficiaries who are already covered under the food security, emergency shelter and WatSan sectors.

Cyclone Komen made landfall on 30 July 2015, weakening as it moved slightly towards the northeast. Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Bandarban, Noakhali, Feni and Bhola districts were significantly affected. The regions were already affected by the previous flash floods and landslides which had started at the end of June 2015. In addition to the number of people that were injured during the cyclone, at least seven people (including two children) were reported to have lost their lives and 38 people were reported missing. The Government district level ‘D-form’ data immediately after the disaster indicated many houses were flattened or under water, trees uprooted, and power supplies and communication systems disrupted in some places. Crops were damaged and shrimp projects flooded.

Due to the impact of the cyclonic storm, heavy to very heavy rainfall triggered in southern Bangladesh widespread flooding. Consequently the lives and livelihoods of the people of those areas were further worsened.

A Need Assessment Working Group (NAWG) was formed to identify the damage and needs of all these areas affected by Cyclone Komen and subsequent flooding. This assessment was commissioned by the Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT) and covered ten districts. The cumulative effect of the floods coming after Cyclone Komen increased the affected population to 2.6 million people. The impact of these events was felt most acutely by the extreme poor . 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 proposed an immediate to longer term response strategy as well as mitigation measures based on the inputs from mainly the Food Security, Shelter, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH) and Early Recovery clusters.

This Emergency Appeal has been designed in line with the JRP strategy and has maintained a good coordination with the national humanitarian stakeholders. The Government of Bangladesh has already responded during the first few weeks of the disaster with rice and cash to many of the affected areas while a number of humanitarian organizations and UN agencies had responded with food assistance, health and WASH relief. In line with the JRP, humanitarian donors, like the European Commision’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid (DG-ECHO) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), had mobilized funds to its partner international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) to support the response.

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) requested support from IFRC via the 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, BDRCS, to address the critical needs of the affected population, provided from its Disaster Preparedness stocks 3,000 tarpaulins, 30,000 packets of oral rehydration salts (ORS) and installed two mobile water treatment plants. Within three weeks of the start of the operation, BDRCS completed the distribution to 3,000 families of its first phase of unconditional cash grant (3,000 Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) per person) and one tarpaulin per family.

Subsequently, on 24 August 2015, an Emergency Appeal 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 Emergency Appeal targeted: 4,000 families to support with cash grants for food and emergency shelter (tarpaulins); 2,000 families were to benefit from safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene promotion; and 500 families were to receive livelihood cash grants at a later stage of the operation. However, with the current funding situation, the operation had to revise the target down to 4,000 families from 6,500 families. This revised target anticipated supporting: 3,000 families with cash grants for food and emergency shelter (tarpaulins); and 1,000 families to benefit from safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities. Out of these 4,000 families, around 3,000 families will be given an awareness session on DRR in March 2016. At this point of the Emergency Appeal, all activities related to the revised target have been completed except for the DRR awareness sessions.

During the last reporting period, BDRCS signed an agreement with bKash, a mobile money transfer agency.

BDRCS conducted a pilot cash transfer programme for 100 families in Chittagong district using the mobile money (bKash) wallet. After reviewing the positive outcomes of the pilot, BDRCS extended the cash transfer programme to another 350 families in Cox’s Bazar district. As a result, BDRCS has increased confidence in its capacity to provide mobile money transfers.

As part of the effort to ensure community engagement and accountability, BDRCS established a Complaints and Response Mechanism (CRM) to enable beneficiaries to offer valuable feedback on the goods and services they received, and enable field staff to take necessary and timely actions to address any gaps. Rapid Assessment through Mobile Phone (RAMP2 ) has been introduced as a survey tool in this operation for the beneficiary identification and selection process. The National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) members and BDRCS youth volunteers were involved in the RAMP survey with additional support provided by IFRC and BDRCS National Headquarters (NHQ) staff. The survey provided baseline information of the targeted beneficiaries in a systematic way, and minimized time, cost and inconsistency in data collection. RAMP has also been used for the postdistribution monitoring.

Support to this Emergency Appeal includes pledges from Canadian Red Cross Society, Japanese Red Cross Society, American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross and Monaco Red Cross Society.

Partners and donors are encouraged to contribute the current funding gap of CHF 483,643. Click here for the latest donor response list.

While BDRCS, IFRC and the other humanitarian partners were dealing with Cyclone Komen and flooding in the southeastern part of Bangladesh, the north and central parts of the country (not part of the operational area for Cyclone Komen) experienced flooding in the last week of August 2015. An aerial survey was conducted on 30 August 2015 in the northern districts to observe the flooding situation and the potential damage to housing, agriculture, and infrastructure and to map the scale of population displacement. Floods have caused extensive damage to crops in different parts of the country. BDRCS provided BDT 50,000 for dry or cooked food distribution through each of the 13 affected BDRCS Districts Units in the northern and central parts of the country. The joint response of BDRCS to assist 2,500 families in ten districts during this reporting period has been supported by IFRC and the following Participating National Societies (PNSs): German Red Cross, Swiss Red Cross, and Turkish Red Crescent Society.