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WFP Provides Cash Transfers To Families Affected By Floods With Funding From DFID And ECHO

DHAKA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has provided unconditional mobile phone cash transfers to assist people whose homes and livelihoods were severely affected by the devastating floods in the Northwest of Bangladesh in August.

Thanks to a donation of US$2.6 million from the United Kingdom (DFID), and a contribution of US$527,009 from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), WFP has reached nearly 19,500 ultra-poor households – almost 100,000 people who have suffered from the flooding. Each family is provided with unconditional cash transfers of 9,000 Tk (US$116) divided into three rounds of 3,000 Tk.

In coordination with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and local government authorities, and working through local NGO partners Eco-Social Development Organization (ESDO), Manab Mukti Sangstha (MMS), RDRS and Solidarity, WFP distributed mobile phone SIM cards to facilitate the money transfers.

The poorest families in Kurigram, Gaibandha, Sirajganj and Jamalpur were prioritized to ensure that assistance reached those most in need. Since women are generally in charge of preparing and distributing food within the household, the SIM cards were given to female members of selected households. The transfers make an important contribution to help affected families recover from the flooding. The disbursements are to be completed in November, after which employment opportunities in Aman harvest and Boro planting will be available again.

“The cash transfers are an effective means to give the poorest affected people access to food following the floods. Food is available in the markets, but the flood has stripped a vast number of families of the purchasing power to buy it,” said WFP Representative in Bangladesh Christa Räder.

“As an immediate action, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief provided considerable humanitarian assistance and relief materials like cash, food, medicine and logistical support for the flood affected people. Besides these, the support of WFP is highly appreciated in reducing the miserable condition of the people,” said Dr. Mesbah ul Alam, Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.

DFID Bangladesh Country Representative Sarah Cooke commented, “The flood waters in northern Bangladesh may have receded but affected families, who live in some of the most deprived regions of the country, are struggling with recovery. Cash transfers, which will be made directly to female household members, will provide families with the much needed resources to make a start on the rebuilding process.”
Olivier Brouant, head of office, Directorate general for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO) in Bangladesh, added: “Unconditional cash transfers is the most effective way to support the flood affected families in the Northwest at this stage, and this emergency aid will allow the recipients to address their own urgent needs until the situation reverts to normality.”

Almost 2 million people, or 400,000 households, were affected by the flooding, which corresponds to about 33 percent of the population in the districts concerned. The severity and duration of the flooding varied across the north of the country, ranging from breach of embankments and river erosion to water logging. As an immediate first response, WFP distributed a total of 80 metric tons of fortified biscuits among 106,450 severely flood affected people who had sought shelter on higher ground. In its second phase of response, WFP is providing unconditional 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. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

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For more information please contact:
Christa Räder, Representative, WFP/Bangladesh, Tel. +880-2-9183022-33
Leonora Beck, Communications Officer, WFP/Bangladesh, Tel. +8801755642173, leonora.beck@wfp.org