New Bangladesh Emergency Fund to Help Thousands of People Affected by Cyclone Mora

from Start Network
Published on 04 Jun 2017

Thousands of families left homeless when Cyclone Mora hit the coast of Bangladesh last week are to be helped in the first crisis response by a new country emergency fund.

Start Fund Bangladesh, designed to enable aid agencies to respond early and fast to humanitarian emergency, has approved £395,000 (BDT 40,880,000) of funding to four agencies and their partners working in the region.

The funding will be used to provide urgent help for more than 50,000 of the most vulnerable people affected when the storm hit coastal districts on Tuesday. Many were living in makeshift shelters that were destroyed by the winds the reached up to 84 mph.

Among the activities to assist vulnerable families in the Cox’s Bazar district will be:

• Distribution of hygiene kits – water containers, soap, other sanitary equipment – to prevent the spread of disease

• Cash grants to the most vulnerable affected households to enable repairs to their makeshift homes and for other basic needs, including food

• Repairs to latrines, washrooms and water points in makeshift camps

• Repairs to schools damaged by the cyclone, to enable children to return to their education as quickly as possible

Funding was agreed in principle on Wednesday after two agencies, Handicap International Bangladesh and Solidarites International Bangladesh, raised an emergency alert.

Four projects were selected for funding from among six competing proposals at a meeting in Dhaka on Friday, using a process of peer review by humanitarian figures from other members of the Start Network, a global network of aid agencies. The agencies whose projects were chosen are Action Against Hunger Bangladesh, CARITAS Bangladesh, Concern Worldwide and Save the Children Bangladesh.

Start Fund Bangladesh is funded by the UK government through the Department for International Development. It aims to activate funding within 72 hours of receiving a crisis alert, and is accessible to national and international Start Network member NGOs within Bangladesh.

Sajid Raihan, its country manager, said: “The way the Fund has responded so rapidly to Cyclone Mora shows the value it will bring to Bangladesh in this emergency, and in the future. It is extraordinarily quick – with funding on its way within 72 hours of an alert, enabling an immediate response. It also addresses pockets of vulnerability that might otherwise be overlooked.”

The new fund will have up to £10m for emergency response over four years, and will be able to tackle more such crises, drawing on local expertise and knowledge. It is managed by a small national team based in Dhaka at the offices of Action Against Hunger Bangladesh, which was selected as host (until 31 August 2017) through a competitive process.

Abdul Alim, Programme Officer for ActionAid Bangladesh, who was in the decision-making group in Dhaka, said: "I am excited to have been a member of first project selection committee of Start Fund Bangladesh. It was a very lively and democratic process and all members were cooperative, transparent and logical. It was good that none of agencies applying for funding was present in the committee.” Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said: "We welcome the initiative. We hope that this fund will be flexible enough to address the immediate, unmet needs; and will not be entangled in bureaucratic and administrative formalities. The success of Start Fund Bangladesh will depend on transparency and accountability, which will be at the core of the its management.”

A.K.M. Musha, Country Director for Concern Worldwide, said: “Start Fund is a unique funding mechanism for rapid and effective humanitarian response to disasters. The localisation of this funding mechanism by establishing the Start Fund Bangladesh, with country-specific funding allocation and local management involving both national and international humanitarian actors, will further enhance its effectiveness.”

Start Fund Bangladesh is collectively owned and managed by its members, expected to extend to a growing number of national NGOs during its initial four-year life span. It will gradually devolve to the Bangladesh level with the ultimate aim of it becoming an independent local fund.

It is modelled on the successful global Start Fund, which has enabled quick response to floods, earthquakes, droughts and refugee crises in 51 countries over the past three years.

ENDS | Twitter: @StartNetwork

For further information contact:

· Sajid Raihan, Country Manager, Start Fund Bangladesh: M: +88 01884596833

· David Wastell, Communications Director, Start Network: M: +44 7770 380 804 | Twitter: @davidwastell


● Start Network has 42 members spanning five continents. It is leading for change in the humanitarian system and manages aid programmes that contribute to this objective. Members agree to put long-term humanitarian goals above any short-term financial benefit to their individual aid agency.

● Members operational in Bangladesh are: Action Against Hunger (ACF), ActionAid, CARE, Caritas Bangladesh, Catholic Relief Services, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Handicap International, HelpAge International, Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Plan, Relief International, Save the Children, Solidarites International, Tearfund, World Vision.

● The global Start Fund is the first multi-donor pooled fund managed exclusively by NGOs and was created in April 2014 to fill a gap in humanitarian funding. Since then it been activated more than 100 times and reached nearly six million people in 51 countries, with assistance totalling more than £19 million. It aims to begin disbursing funds to “below-the-radar” emergencies within 72 hours of a member sending an alert. It has responded to four previous alerts within Bangladesh, making a total of £1,550,000 available to assist communities affected by crisis.

● Start Fund Bangladesh aims to operate along similar lines to the global Start Fund, in which aid agencies take swift, collective and transparent decisions after a member raises a crisis alert:

  • Day 1: Immediately an alert is raised, members are surveyed to gather first-hand information. Results are fed into a formal discussion by a smaller group.

  • Day 2: If this group activates the fund, members active in the area affected by the crisis have a further 24 hours to submit proposals to tackle the crisis.

  • Day 3: Project selection based on peer review is undertaken in country, as close to the crisis as possible, after which disbursement of funds begins. Agencies must complete their projects within 45 days.

● Other Start Network initiatives include Start Labs, developing new ways to fund crisis response; Start Engage, helping communities in disaster-prone areas to prepare for future crises; and Start Response, organising multi-agency interventions in larger and more enduring crises.