DHAKA – More than 35,000 flood-affected people in southeastern Bangladesh are to receive financial assistance so they can replenish food and other necessities lost when the region was hit by cyclonic storm Komen earlier this month.
Flood and landslide affected families in critical need in Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban districts will receive 3,000 taka per month over the next three months (totalling US$115), in order to prevent food insecurity and undernutrition from getting any worse. The money is provided by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
With the first payments beginning this week, WFP, together with local NGOs, has set-up mobile bank accounts for the families who will receive financial help. A senior woman from each of the 7,000 participating households has been given a SIM card and has opened a mobile bank account, which will enable her to receive the money. WFP says that experience from several countries has shown that giving transfers into the accounts of women is empowering them and is critical for improving food security and nutrition in the households.
Sarah Cooke, DFID Bangladesh Country Representative, said "Assisting needy Bangladeshi communities following disasters is a priority for the UK. During Minister Swayne’s recent visit to Bangladesh, he announced up to £3 million of funding to help those most affected by the recent floods in Bangladesh. New UK support to the World Food Programme (WFP) will bring much needed relief to tens of thousands people in the south-east affected by cyclone Komen and monsoon flooding. The UK will work with WFP to ensure our aid reaches the most vulnerable including women, the elderly and disabled people."
The three cash disbursements will be completed by October says WFP. To ensure that the assistance reaches those most vulnerable, those in participating communities can express any concerns about the scheme through a WFP ‘hotline’ by calling 01755642157 and 01755642188.
Christa Räder, WFP Representative in Bangladesh, said that the financial assistance will make an important contribution to families recovering from the flooding. “Food is available in the markets but many lack the means to buy it,” she said. “This type of assistance introduces the element of choice and helps stimulate local markets.”
Nearly 2 million people have been affected by unprecedented rainfall in southeastern Bangladesh since June, including a cyclonic storm that is rare for the season, causing flash floods and landslides. Many people remain displaced, their crops and assets destroyed.
WFP has already reached more than 185,000 people with emergency food assistance, in addition to the ongoing cash transfers.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.
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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Christa Räder, Representative, WFP/Bangladesh, Tel. +880-2-918-302-233
Daniel Svanlund, Communications Officer, WFP/Bangladesh, Mobile: +880-175-564-2173
Damian Kean, Regional Communications Officer, WFP/Bangkok, Mobile: +66-817-019-208