As floods spread across Bangladesh, the U.S. government is providing relief assistance, which builds on more than $7 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971.
DHAKA, July 24, 2020 – As part of ongoing collaboration among the United States, the Bangladeshi Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, and the United Nations in Bangladesh, United States Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller announced the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing assistance to vulnerable families in flooded parts of northern Bangladesh who have lost their homes or livelihoods.
Assistance will be offered to the most vulnerable people in two unions in Gaibandha and Kurigram Districts in Rangpur Division who have been displaced or lack food or shelter, and who are not receiving other support.
The assistance includes multipurpose cash grants to those eligible. Additionally, these families will receive an emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene support package, which is critical to avoiding diseases and is especially important to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recipients will be able to use the cash grants to purchase essential items to meet their immediate needs, which also helps support the local economy during this disaster.
Ambassador Miller said “Immediate help during a flood of this magnitude is critical. As we have been for decades, the U.S. government is committed to standing with the people of Bangladesh and working together with the Government of Bangladesh to help those in need when natural disasters strike.”
The areas to be assisted are Bamandanga union in Nageshwari upazila, Kurigram District and Fazlupur union in Fulchari upazila, Gaibandha District. These two areas are among the unions where floods first affected communities.
Over the past years, several USAID programs have worked to enhance disaster preparedness in households and communities to help people become more resilient. USAID’s SHOUHARDO III project with CARE Bangladesh has helped vulnerable families in northeastern Bangladesh whose homes were flooded in 2019, by constructing raised earthen platforms, called plinths, to lift 1,744 homes above flood levels. These raised homes keep the families safe, along with their livestock and gardens. Now, many of the homeowners living on the plinths have taken in neighbors whose houses were flooded.
Additionally, USAID, in coordination with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and World Meteorological Organization, is training Bangladeshi disaster management professionals on the South Asia Flash Flood Guidance System. The capacity-building program integrates various flash flood guidance into operational forecasts that local disaster management officials can use to provide early warnings to individuals in flood-prone areas. Early flood warnings, when converted to SMS bulletins, help families prepare to move people, livestock, supplies, and livelihoods to higher ground. USAID’s SHOUHARDO III project trains the local Disaster Management Committees and volunteers to ensure they utilize the early warning systems and help their communities prepare for flooding.
USAID also supports capacity-building activities for disaster management specialists and first responders through the Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER), a program active throughout the South Asia region since 1998. Training provided for volunteers through the program includes basic life support and search-and-rescue, including swift water rescues. USAID also supports U.S. Forest Service training for Bangladeshi disaster management professionals in the Incident Command System (ICS), a standardized, multi-hazard response management system for emergency responders.
The U.S. government, through USAID alone, has provided more than $7 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971. In 2019, USAID provided over $200 million to improve the lives of people in Bangladesh through programs that expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education, promote democratic institutions and practices, protect the environment, and increase resilience to climate change.