UN agencies provide an expected $6.2 million in cash and aid to vulnerable communities ahead of the expected floods in Bangladesh.

The anticipatory action trigger for floods in the Jamuna River basin in Bangladesh have been reached, and the UN  Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) promptly disbursed $US6.2 million to support the most vulnerable families  mitigate the impact of the floods. The pre-arranged funds were provided to four UN Agencies: The Food & Agriculture  Organization (FAO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and World  Food Programme (WFP) to reach people before the forecasted floods occur.

By using early warning systems and scientific advances in disaster prediction, this CERF enabled implementing partners  to reach 400,000 people in the northern Bangladesh districts of Kurigram, Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Bogura and Sirajganj,  including 92,089 men, 127,290 women, 159,121 children and 6,045 people with disabilities before the flooding  occurred. Each of the 80,000 households will receive anticipatory multi-purpose cash transfers, water purification  supplies, agricultural support, dignity & baby kits, and information services on gender-based violence.

Anticipatory Action is a proactive approach to disaster management that enables the implementation and financing  of actions before an extreme weather event occurs, helping families to safeguard their homes and income and ensure  food security before and after the crisis. This anticipatory grant targets vulnerable community members, including  people with disabilities, transgender people, women, children, and households in the low-lying char (riverine island)  areas who face an elevated risk of food insecurity and malnutrition, and protection issues due to existing poverty and  marginalization.

This is the second time that Anticipatory Action has been used in Bangladesh. The initiative was launched based on  predictions by UN experts, forecasting that continued monsoon rainfall will lead to water levels along the Jamuna and  other tributaries increasing significantly by mid-July, causing destructive floods. The allocation emphasizes the  participation of both implementing agencies and affected communities to ensure that the chosen activities reflect  priorities, respond to urgent life-saving needs, and improve resilience through various forms of support.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Ms. Gwyn Lewis, welcomed the timely disbursal of funding: “Anticipatory  Action can significantly reduce the impact of disasters on families and support a faster recovery. By providing support  before a disaster hits, vulnerable communities have the financial resources in hand to cope with floods and cyclones  that are growing in frequency and intensity. Families are empowered to make their own decisions on how best to  protect their homes and livelihoods and therefore they can better safeguard what is important, contributing to  building resilience before the next cyclone or flood hits. ”

Historically, UN agencies have worked closely with the Government of Bangladesh to respond to floods and cyclones,  providing timely responses where the needs are highest. However, in the face of vulnerabilities created by climate  change and other external factors, preventive efforts like Anticipatory Action are growing in importance.

Through the current Anticipatory Action grant, FAO will support agriculture by providing livestock feed and grain  storage silos to 11,310 farmers in the region. The grant will help vulnerable farmers protect their livelihoods and assets  ahead of impending flood damage.

WFP will provide multipurpose cash assistance to 75,700 families to help them meet their basic food, nutrition and  other essential needs and help deter people from adopting negative coping strategies such as eating less, skipping  meals, or taking on debts.

UNICEF will ensure safe drinking water by making mobile treatment plant units available at evacuation points and  shelters. Additionally, they will distribute water jerry cans and purification tablets to 65,000 people, including 19,000  women. UNICEF will also disseminate messages on early warning and good hygiene through community-based  communication campaigns to minimize the risk of waterborne diseases among the affected population.

UNFPA will target 18,729 women, adolescent girls, and transgender people to provide quality services & goods to  address gender-based violence, reduce maternal mortality and manage menstrual health.


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