Description of the disaster
Since 12 August 2017, heavy monsoon rains above the seasonal average severely impacted the riverine region of India,
Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. This resulted in intense flooding in almost two-thirds of Bangladesh, affecting over 8 million people. Bangladesh experienced floods for the fourth time in 2017 and the latest flood had inundated the country.
As of 12 September, the Government of Bangladesh reported that the floodwaters had receded in 28 of the 322 floodaffected districts.
Based on the recent FACT assessment and external reports, urgent needs for additional emergency shelter, non-food items (NFIs) and other assistance were identified in districts most heavily affected. Latrines and tube wells were washed away and despite Government efforts to rehabilitate these rapidly, many still needed repair. Due to the proactivity of the Government of Bangladesh, there was no substantial spike in waterborne diseases, but the risks remain. The affected areas are known for harvesting crops such as paddy (summer rice), jute (vegetable fibre), dhaincha (multipurpose legume), and vegetables. Most of the crops have been severely damaged.
According to the Government reports, over 650,000 hectares crops lands in 32 districts have suffered some scale of damage. Damaged roads and infrastructure affected many people including farmers, fishermen, and char (island) dwellers.
Livelihoods and livelihoods activities have been adversely affected. Many farmers, whose crops were destroyed by the flood, have replanted, incurring extra seed and planting costs as well as a likely smaller harvest yield before the commencement of winter. Those reliant on wage labour have been adversely affected by the high cost of repairing or replacing damaged houses. In some of the chars, there have been reports that small businesses were washed away entirely. These conditions have forced some affected communities to resort to negative coping strategies such as taking high interest loans, selling livestock, and contributing to long-term risks.
Highlights of the operations update:
The emergency phase was completed at the end of 2017 with some remaining activities such as the distribution of multipurpose cash grants to around 7,000 beneficiaries out of 20,000 selected. As of 15 January 2018,
Bangladesh Red Crescent Society reached 13,329 families in seven districts with multipurpose cash grant (CHF 50 per family) and eight types of vegetable seeds. Corrugated iron sheets and shelter toolkits were distributed to around 1,900 families.
Multi-sectoral recovery assessment is planned to be conducted in June 2018. One of most affected districts, namely Lalmonirhat, is selected and recommended by BDRCS for recovery intervention activities. Detailed plan of action will be worked out after recovery assessment.
Cash transfer programming (CTP) activities have been on hold since February 2018, following concerns raised by a monitoring team relating to compliance with the Minimum Standard Commitments, among others. The routine monitoring had revealed that in three of the ten target districts, selection of people to receive assistance did not fully reflect participation of community members, and a thorough review of compliance aspects was commissioned. The review – which has since been completed – determined that several steps in the implementation cycle, including those relating to participation, needed reinforcement. Consequently, several measures are being enacted before implementation resumes. These include re-orientation of branch personnel (staff and volunteers) on aspects relating to community engagement and accountability (CEA), training on the Minimum Standard Commitments to Gender and Diversity in Emergency Programming, and orientation on the IFRC fraud and corruption prevention policy. Considering that CTP activities were on hold for almost five months, it is necessary to have the operation timeframe extended to allow full completion after compliance concerns have been fully addressed.
On the other hand, the rainy season in the country has already started and cyclone season is approaching as well. The big portion of the recovery activities are hardware like construction of the shelters, construction of the latrines, livelihood activities and planting which takes time and is logistically difficult to implement during the rainy and cyclone season. Moreover, statistically, the areas where the recovery activities are planning to be implemented are flooded almost every year thus, it may happen that the roads and areas will become impassable soon.