Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Floods appeal No.24/1999 final report

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Appeal No. 24/1999
Launched on: 23 September 1999 for six months for CHF 2,019, 000
Beneficiaries: 523,200
Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 100,000
Final Report
"At a glance"

Appeal coverage: 97.7%

The Disaster/Situation: The appeal attracted strong support and enabled the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and the Federation to provide vital relief supplies to vulnerable people in the wake of the floods. Extensive distribution of rice, dal and blankets was carried out effectively in several districts.

The context:

In contrast to the dramatic nature of the 1998 floods, the 1999 flooding was less spectacular. It was a rather slow, unfolding disaster which, started in July and gradually worsened over a two and a half month period. The first heavy rains in July affected hilly areas, followed by the inundation of areas not normally considered as flood prone. The force and turbulence of the river water caused massive erosion, and in the first two weeks of September, 21 new districts were severely affected from a mixture of water levels and high tides in the Bay of Bengal, which have obstructed the natural flow of rivers to the sea.

The Federation responded initially to the disaster by providing immediate relief assistance to particularly vulnerable groups. However, hundreds of thousands more did no received any relief supplies after the first round of flooding.

Bangladesh was hit by a flood in mid-1999 with the early arrival of a strong monsoon. Torrential rains from 20 June caused flash floods in nine districts in the Chittagong region and spread to 41 of the country's 64 districts in July, affecting about 3.5 million people. Extensive damage was reported to standing crops, seed beds, thatched houses, roads, bridges and other infra- structure.

The heavy onrush of floodwater created breaches on several embankments, the most serious of which occurred along the Etbarpuj section of the Gumti Embankment at Burichang Thana in Comilla District on 12 and 15 July. Ten of the 12 Thanas (sub-districts) of Comilla district were affected, of which Burichang, Devidwar and Chandina Thanas were worst hit. Other districts affected by large-scale river erosion included Mymensingh, Faridpur, Pabna, Sirajganj, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Dinajpur.

Floodwaters had receded from all parts of the country by mid-October but the relief and rehabilitation activities continued well after. The government decided to bring 300,000 more families under the Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) programme to cover the flood victims. Under the VGF programme, about 1.5 million people of 2.8 million families received food relief during August to November, the traditional lean period in the country. The government had distributed 4,611 metric tonnes (MT) of rice, 3,825 MT of wheat and a substantial amount of non-food items as relief among the 1999 flood victims.

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) and the Federation Delegation closely monitored the flood and river erosion situations and made their own assessment of needs of the most vulnerable. The BDRCS conducted a relief operation in the three worst affected thanas of Comilla from 11 July to 21 August when 130 MT rice and 26 MT dal (lentils) was distributed among 13,000 vulnerable families.

A Plan of Action (PoA) for further relief and rehabilitation was prepared and an Appeal was launched from Geneva on 23 September seeking CHF 2,019,000 to assist 523,200 beneficiaries for six months.

Objectives

The relief component consisted of 1,300 MT of rice, 260 MT of dal, 10,000 blankets and emergency medical items. To mitigate the suffering of the destitute, the construction of 750 low-cost houses was included in the PoA. Allocations were made from national headquarters while units prepared lists of beneficiaries.

The following table shows the allocation of relief materials to the 64 district and four metropolitan city units

Unit allocation of Rice, Dal and Blankets

Blankets
1st phase
2nd phase
3rd phase
Total
PCs
allocation (kg)
allocation (kg)
allocation (kg)
(kg)
SI. No
District/city
Rice
Dal
Rice
Dal
Rice
Dal
Rice
Dal
400
1
Panchagar



0


0
0
400
2
Nilphamari



0


0
0
300
3
Lalmonirhat
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
12 000
2 400
32 000
6 400
300
4
Rangpur


20 000
4 000
12 000
2 400
32 000
6 400
300
5
Kurigram
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000
12 000
2 400
42 000
8 400
300
6
Gaibandha
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000
12 000
2 400
42 000
8 400
300
7
Thakurgaon



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
300
8
Dinajpur



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
300
9
Joypurhat



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
200
10
Naogoan



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
200
11
Chapai-Nawabganj


20 000
4 000
12 000
2 400
32 000
6 400
200
12
Rajshahi zila


20 000
4 000

0
20 000
4 000
300
13
Natore



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
200
14
Bogra
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000
12 000
2 400
42 000
8 400
200
15
Sirajganj
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000
12 000
2 400
42 000
8 400
200
16
Pabna
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000
12 000
2 400
42 000
8 400
200
17
Kustia



0

0
0
0
200
18
Meherpur



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000

19
Chuadanga



0

0
0
0

20
Jhenaidah



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000

21
Magura



0

0
0
0
300
22
Jessore



0

0
0
0
200
23
Narail



0

0
0
0

24
Satkhira


10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000
200
25
Bagerhat



0

0
0
0

26
Pirojpur



0

0
0
0

27
Barisal



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
200
28
Bhola



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000

29
Barguna


10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000

30
Jhalokhati









31
Patuakhali









32
Gopalganj


20 000
4 000
15 000
3 000
35 000
7 000
300
33
Madaripur


10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000

34
Shariatpur


10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000

35
Faridpur



0

0
0
0
300
36
Rajbari


10 000
2 000

0
10 000
2 000

37
Manikganj


10 000
2 000

0
10 000
2 000

38
Dhaka zila



0

0
0
0

39
Gazipur


10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000
200
40
Norsingdi


10 000
2 000
12 000
2 400
22 000
4 400
200
41
Narayanganj


10 000
2 000
12 000
2 400
22 000
4 400
200
42
Munshiganj


20 000
4 000
12 000
2 400
32 000
6 400
200
43
Tangail
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
12 000
2 400
32 000
6 400
200
44
Jamalpur
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
12 000
2 400
32 000
6 400

45
Sherpur



0

0
0
0

46
Mymensingh



0

0
0
0

47
Netrokona



0

0
0
0
200
48
Kishoreganj


10 000
2 000
12 000
2 400
22 000
4 400
200
49
Sunamganj
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000

0
20 000
4 000
300
50
50 Sylhet



0

0
0
0
300
51
Moulavibazar



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
300
52
Hobiganj



0
12 000
2 400
12 000
2 400
200
53
Brahmman Baria



0

0
0
0

54
Comilla
130 000
26 000
60 000
12 000
30 000
6 000
220 000
44 000

55
Chandpur
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000
12 000
2 400
42 000
8 400
200
56
Laxmipur
10 000
2 000

0
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000

57
Noakhali



0

0
0
0
200
58
Feni



0

0
0
0

59
Chittagong zila
10 000
2 000

0

0
10 000
2 000

60
Chittagong city



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000

61
Cox's Bazar
10 000
2 000

0
10 000
2 000
20 000
4 000

62
Rajshahi City



0

0
0
0
200
63
Khagrachari
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000

0
20 000
4 000
200
64
Bandarban
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000

0
20 000
4 000
200
65
Rangamati
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000

0
20 000
4 000
200
66
Khulna city



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000

67
Khulna zila



0
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
200
68
Dhaka City
10 000
2 000
10 000
2 000
15 000
3 000
35 000
7 000
200
Grand Total
300,000
60,000
460,000
92,000
452,000
90,400
1'212'000
242,400
10,000

Achievements

Purchase orders were issued on 14 and 23 December 1999 to a local supplier selected through open tender by the Delegation, with approval of the Secretariat in Geneva, for 500 MT of rice, 100 MT of dal and 20,000 blankets. Consignments of the rice and dal started arriving at the BDRCS warehouse in Dhaka on 27 December, while the first blankets were due on 3 January 2000. The BDRCS started the despatch of relief items from 28 December from its headquarters to selected districts.

The Federation Delegation hired trucks to transport some of these materials as BDRCS-owned trucks had insufficient capacity to lift all the relief materials.

The second phase for food and non-food of distribution started on 28 November and was complete except in four districts where some technical problems persisted. The third phase, for non-food items (blankets). Some second phase food distribution continued in early 2000.

The distribution details up to 31 December, 1999 are as follows:

Rice: 960 MT
Dal: 192 MT
No. of beneficiary families: 48,000 or more than 240,000 people.

The distribution of relief materials was constantly monitored by the Delegation and the BDRCS.

Close liaison was maintained with the central government authorities and disaster co-ordinating agencies such as the Disaster Management Bureau, the Water Development Board, the Flood Warning Centre and the Ministry of Relief. Interaction continued with the UNDP, the Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB), and the Disaster Forum.

News items on relief distribution, some with photographs, appeared in various national and local dailies during the reporting period. National television covered a few such occasions where the BDRCS Chairman and the Delegation Head of Delegation were present.

Constraints

As a matter of policy, relief materials were distributed through the Unit Executive Committee. A few of the units did not have active Executive Committees because of court injunctions. Relief distributions to four such units have been complicated or made impossible. At the end, the relief was distributed through the unit officer or officials from headquarters.

The allocation list had to be revised for a few districts due to practical reasons which at times caused delay in despatch and distribution of relief goods.

The housing programme had to be implemented under the process of tendering. It also included, which is time consuming. As the construction of 380 houses under the floods 1998 operation went on during and beyond 1999, construction of the 750 houses under the floods 1999 programme has not yet proceeded.

Conclusion

Except for the instant relief to the flood victims, most of the 1999 flood relief operation was initiated at the end of the year, which is the leanest seasonal period. The relief was therefore been very helpful to the poverty stricken flood victims, who would otherwise fall back on traditional money lenders. Efforts were made to ensure that distribution of blankets took place before or at least during the peak winter season.

The experience of the BDRCS/Delegation from the massive flood relief operations of 1998 greatly helped in the management of the 1999 operations. It is expected that the experience accumulated in the housing operations of 1998 will equally be helpful in implementation of the 1999 housing programme. There is a small balance of CHF 99,000 from the operation, which will be repaid into the Federation's disaster relief emergency fund (DREF) that was utilised in the aftermath of the floods.

For further details please contact: Ewa Eriksson, Phone : 4l 22 7304252; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email: eriksson@ifrc.org

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org.

This operation sought to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or long-term capacity building will require additional support, and these programmes are outlined on the Federation's website.

Peter Rees-Gildea
Head a.i.
Relationship Management Department

Hiroshi Higashiura
Head
Asia Pacific Department

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