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Netherlands & WFP Work With Bangladeshi Communities To Cope With Natural Disasters

DHAKA – More than 70,000 people in the disaster-prone districts of south-west Bangladesh will be better prepared in future, thanks to a contribution of US$3 million (23 crore taka) from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The Government of Bangladesh is supporting the project by matching the donation.

The contribution will enable the government and WFP to support 7,000 men and women with cash/food for work and training, and another 7,000 women with trainings on income generation, a cash grant for investment and a monthly allowance. Including the participants’ family members, 70,000 people will benefit from these activities in Shyamnagar, Kalapara and Dacope.

Since the start of this year, WFP has assisted 7,000 women and men so they can repair and reinforce embankments and raise roads, excavate canals and ponds and elevate the ground around their houses in order to protect their communities from flooding, water-logging and increasing salinity. Throughout the wet season, they participate in training sessions on disaster preparedness and response, hygiene, sanitation and nutrition.

In exchange for their time and labour, these programme participants receive a nutritious food ration from WFP and the equivalent in cash from the Government of Bangladesh. The contribution from the Netherlands enables WFP to support 35,000 people through this project.

“Protective infrastructure and knowledge about preparing for and coping with a disaster are critical for people to safeguard their lives, homes and fields,” said Christa Räder, WFP Representative in Bangladesh. “However, we need to do more for ultra-poor families. A stable income, ideally from several sources, can be the best shield when a family is hit by disaster; it means people can buy enough nutritious food and get back on their feet quicker.”

To further strengthen the poorest families’ resilience to future shocks WFP works with women from households who already participated in food/cash for work and training from 2011 to 2012.  

The women learn about business development and entrepreneurship, identify activities that match their skills and local demand, and develop a business plan. They then receive a cash grant to invest, and a monthly allowance to help support their families while they focus on making their businesses successful.

The Netherlands contribution, together with the equivalent amount provided by the Government of Bangladesh, enables 7,000 women and their families – another 35,000 people in total – to benefit from this additional support.

All activities are part of a joint programme between the Netherlands and the UN in Bangladesh with the aim of building community resilience to climate change and natural disasters  through integrated water management.

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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.

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For more information please contact (email address:
Christa Räder, Representative, WFP/Bangladesh, Tel. +880-2-9183022-33
Cornelia Pätz, Public Information Officer, WFP/Bangladesh, Tel. +8801755642167