Bangladesh + 1 more

Emergency humanitarian aid in favour of communities in India and Bangladesh affected by floods in Jul - Sep 2006

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Location of operation: South Asia
Amount of Decision: EUR 4,000,000
Decision reference number: ECHO/-SA/BUD/2006/02000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population.

1.1. - Rationale:

The 2006 monsoon season started in India and Bangladesh in the middle of June. A serious flooding situation started developing at the end of July, when the UN(United Nations), IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) and international NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) were already reporting critical flooding in Bangladesh, in particular in three districts of the south-west, namely Jessore, Khulna and Shatkhira, with devastating effects in terms of displacement, and loss of assets and livelihoods. With approximately 50% of the rainy season still to come, flood water levels were already higher than in September 2004, following which DG ECHO(1) launched funding Decision ECHO/BGD/BUD/2004/02000. Similarly critical flooding was occurring, at the same time, in India in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa and even in arid Rajasthan.

By mid-September over 4 million households in India were affected and over 100,000 houses were partially or completely damaged, resulting in 500,000 people living in emergency makeshift shelters or public buildings. In Bangladesh, over 135,000 families(2) were severely affected; again, their houses were partially or totally destroyed, or marooned for weeks. Over 3,000 families were living in makeshift shelters in road-side camps and public buildings, and up to 15,000 families were in need of emergency shelter support(3). Damage includes loss of standing crops, serious erosion of farmland and property, destruction of livestock, food and tools, as well as the contamination of surface water supplies, open wells and tube-wells and of latrines.

In Bangladesh the floods caused embankment breaches, which in turn resulted in suddenonset flooding of villages and farmland, leading to death and injury of people and livestock. In Gujarat, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, the unusual water levels led to discharges of overflowing dams, which compounded the already serious flooding down-stream and left hundreds of villages, and even the town of Surat (3.6 million), submerged. In arid Rajasthan communities will often live on, or near, the natural flowing channels where water is easier to find during droughts. Many of these structures, people and livestock were washed away by the flash floods and in areas of gypsum-rich sub-soil (poor permeability) the water will stay trapped for months until it evaporates.

In the absence of a centralised appeal, authorities at the local level (state, district and subdistrict) have welcomed assistance from international aid agencies, and are cooperative in facilitating aid agencies to provide assistance on the ground.

In August and September 2006, DG ECHO undertook emergency assessment missions to the affected areas, and made recommendations. The reports recommend emergency relief, focusing on food, shelter and water-sanitation to displaced, host and stranded families; and ultimately to assist in the recovery of livelihoods and rehabilitation of damaged housing and water-sanitation facilities(4). The situation in the assessed areas has reportedly continued to deteriorate(5). At the time of writing, another assessment mission is underway in Bangladesh.

Notes

(1) European Commission Directorate-General for Humanitarian aid - DG ECHO

(2) NGO Information Centre, Satkhira, 21 September 2006

(3) DER (Disaster Emergency Response Team) Report 27 August 2006

(4) Bangladesh Mission Report 15 August 2006

(5) DG ECHO Bangladesh field report, Jessore, 22 September 2006