Today, the European Commission has announced the allocation of an additional €10 million for the victims of Cyclone Aila, which struck Bangladesh in May 2009. The aid will be used for helping affected populations to rebuild their lives.
Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "Although almost two years have passed since the cyclone struck Bangladesh, its victims are still trying to mend their lives. With this new allocation, we will help affected populations to rebuild their shattered lives. It is of paramount importance, that wherever people are affected by humanitarian disasters, Europe lives up to its responsibility and shows active solidarity."
After Cyclone Aila, several hundred of thousand Bangladeshis, who left their flooded villages, have been displaced on the road or camped on the remaining sections of embankments sometimes for almost two years. With the repair of embankments being almost completed by the Government of Bangladesh, they are now able to return home.
The funding will help returning victims to bridge their food gap until the next November harvest, by providing food assistance support including seeds, fertilizers, as well as tools so that they can re-plant their crops before the monsoon season. Cash for training and Cash for work activities will also be implemented. The latter will focus on essential infrastructure renewal such as: potable water catchment, canal rehabilitation, sanitation and shelter repair. With this latest financial contribution, most of the Aila-affected people should be able to re-establish their self-sufficiency upon returning to their home areas.
Cyclone Aila struck the western part of Bangladesh on 25 May 2009, affecting directly some 3.9 million people, destroying the homes of 1 million people and the majority of protection embankments. The European Commission provided €12 million to address the immediate relief needs of the displaced victims.