BELGIUM/ The European Union have allocated €5 million to respond to the
urgent humanitarian needs of Bangladeshis who recently have been affected by
severe monsoon floods.
emergency funding will provide food assistance, nutritional care, clean
drinking water, shelter, sanitation facilities and access to healthcare to
those who have lost their homes and livelihoods.
Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "The humanitarian situation is dire in Bangladesh: hundreds of thousands of people are uprooted from their homes by the latest deluge. They are now living in appalling conditions in makeshift shelters or under the open sky. Europe's solidarity is called for, so the Commission will help fund the immediate needs of the most vulnerable among the affected. As usual, our relief activities also include disaster risk reduction – an indispensable priority in such a disaster-prone country".
A recent field assessment carried out by the European Commission confirmed the substantial destruction inflicted on houses and essential sources of livelihood. There has been significant loss of crops, livestock and fish ponds, on which millions of Bangladeshis rely for their sustenance and income.
The floods have affected around one million Bangladeshis so far, according to official estimates. Over 200,000 people have fled their homes, forced to seek refuge elsewhere. Most of the flooded areas are expected to remain waterlogged for several months, which will have significant and protracted impact on the people living along the river basins.
Europe moving to help
EU-Bangladesh relations date back to 1973 and have evolved over the years, including both medium to long-term development cooperation as well as implementation of disaster preparedness programmes and humanitarian response activities. Since 2009, humanitarian aid from the European Commission in Bangladesh has totalled almost €54 million.
Heavy monsoon downpour from early August 2011 compounded by high tides has flooded a number of low-lying areas, in particular the Southwest part of Bangladesh.
Being at sea-level, Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to severe flooding and erosion during the monsoon season. The lack of adequate drainage, poorly-planned construction, and badly maintained embankments contribute to the rising of large river beds, and increases the risk of floods.
The EU currently provides €8.5 for disaster management and for mitigating the consequences of climate change in Bangladesh. This is done through the Global Climate Change Alliance and the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund.
The funding helps improve the country's ability to respond to disasters through the implementation of appropriate regulations and policies, strengthening communities' ability to respond to disasters; as well as improving the country's cyclone, storm and flood early warning systems.
Funding from the European Commission is also helping Bangladeshi communities to 'climate proof' their buildings, to maintain coastal and river embankments and to build better urban drainage systems.