Bangladesh: Monsoon Floods - EPoA update n° 5 (12-month update): DREF Operation n° MDRBD022

Situation Report
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Summary of operation update:

This operation update is issued mainly to inform about the 12-month progress of operation. As of this reporting period, the operation has reached a total of 31,250 people in shelter; 73,291 people in livelihoods and basic needs; 254,480 people in health and 81,016 people in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities. The Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities have been planned for the recovery phase and depending on funding coverage, the activities will be adjusted and carried out accordingly. The EA is only 38 per cent funded and has left some key sectoral areas of the activities with significant funding gaps due to budget limitations. As such, due to this funding gap, less number of households (HHs) have been targeted than initial plan.

BDRCS finished the emergency support in January 2020 and was ready to start the recovery activities. Due to COVID19 situation and movement restrictions imposed by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), the recovery activities were postponed. The operations team started the community level activities in February 2020 to initiate the recovery activities. Before the COVID-19 pandemic situation worsened, the area selection was done and necessary household assessment through deployment of National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) was conducted. BDRCS also finalized the date, venue, resource persons for a number of Training of Trainers (ToTs) on Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA), livelihoods and Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST). They also completed the human resource recruitment process. BDRCS invited local masons and carpenters for the orientation and completed the process for opening of the individual beneficiary bank account. The procurement of corrugated galvanized iron sheets (CGIs) was completed as well. BDRCS conducted two batches of midwives’ trainings and organized inception meeting to start the recovery activities. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation and restriction of the movement by the GoB, the entire recovery programme has been postponed when it was at the highest position to perform.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting 215 countries and territories around the world and has caused at least 668,910 deaths as of 31 July 2020. Bangladesh is not exclusive from this situation. The first three cases in Bangladesh were confirmed by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) on 8 March 2020. Since then the infection curve was in rising trend, only from the end of first week of July the curve started to follow a downward trend with gradual decrease of positive cases. As of 31 July 2020, there are 237,661 confirmed cases in all over the country (all 64 districts) with 3,111 deaths.

As COVID-19 positive cases increase, the GoB on 24 March 2020 declared general holiday (lockdown) and closure of all public and private offices from 26 March to 4 April and restricted all kind of movements, except emergency ones, as containment measures. Considering the evolving situation; the GoB has extended the lockdown five times so far.

The GoB started to phase out the restrictions gradually by reopening government offices, private businesses, banks, factories and resuming public transport services, domestic and international air travels with a condition of following health guidelines. This means that most public spaces and places are open again (including all shops, markets, parks and worships) but requires people to abide by strict physical distancing rules, obligation to wear face masks in public, temperature controls at entrance of all office buildings, shops, and even private buildings. The government has allowed reopening of offices and public transports on a limited scale until 3 August 2020 with conditions as the general holiday imposed for containing the pandemic ended on 30 May 2020 after 66 days. On 31 July 2020 it was reported that Bangladesh has ranked in the eighth position among countries with the highest COVID-19 infection rate, according to the statistics of “Our World in Data”, a data laboratory affiliated to Oxford University – the country has a gross rate of 20.18 per cent. Amid such COVID-19 situation, health experts warn that there is a significant risk of rising dengue patients during August and September as these two months are usually regarded as the peak of the disease.

Following the latest measures by the GoB and gradually starting the normal activities, opening of offices, businesses BDRCS planned to resume implementation of the programme at community level by following all necessary precautions measures considering COVID-19 pandemic. BDRCS has already revised the activities plan, where all community level activities will be implemented by January 2021.