EU brings relief to riverbank collapse victims in Bangladesh

EU brings relief to riverbank collapse victims in Bangladesh

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Dhaka, 15 October 2018 – In response to the collapse of the Padma River embankment in the central Bangladeshi district of Shariatpur, the European Union is providing EUR 80 000 (BDT 7.84 million) in humanitarian aid funding to address the needs of the most vulnerable families. The assistance will directly benefit a total of 15 000 people. This EU funding supports the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) in delivering much-needed assistance to those who have lost their homes through the distribution of tarpaulins and shelter tool kits. In addition, multipurpose cash grants are also being provided to targeted households to ensure those most in need have enough means to meet their basic needs and sustain their day-to-day livelihoods.
This funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
An increase in water levels in the Padma River — the largest river system in Bangladesh that has been severely affected by erosion since early September — during the first three weeks of September led to the sudden collapse of many vulnerable portions of its embankment. More than 8 000 houses and public facilities located within a five-kilometre radius from the river have been washed away, resulting in the displacement of more than 43 000 people in the Naria and Zajira sub-districts, alongside a 1.5-kilometre stretch of main roads and infrastructures. It is estimated that over 8 000 will become permanently displaced. The event has also caused significant damage to crops, seeds and agricultural lands, impacting the overall food security of the affected populations. Food shortages have also been reported.
Background
The European Union together with its Member States is the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO’s website.
The European Commission has signed a EUR 3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of EUR 3 million. – Press release

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