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Plan ramps up Bangladesh flood response

Bangladesh has been experiencing its heaviest monsoon rains for a decade.

6 July 2012: Global child rights organisation Plan International is expanding its response to flooding in Bangladesh, doubling the budget to US$1 million to incorporate a second phase.

“Our emergency response team carried out an assessment and began the first phase of recovery, which we are now proposing to expand to a second phase to meet the immediate needs of children and their families whose lives have been affected by the floods,” said Myrna Evora, Country Director of Plan Bangladesh.

First on the scene

Last week, more than 100 people died and thousands more were stranded after monsoon rains intensified, bringing water from upstream and swelling rivers to bursting point.

On 5 July, Plan began distributing emergency cash transfers to 7,000 flood-affected families in Kurigram and Gaibandha districts in the north and Cox’s Bazar in the southeast part of Bangladesh where more than 1.25 million have been affected. As Plan does not normally work in these areas official approval was sought before distribution began.

As the first international non-governmental organisation to respond to the floods in these areas, Plan has so far disbursed money to 2,000 families in Gaibandha and 3,000 in Kurigram, where Minister of Food and Disaster Management Dr Abdur Razzak was in attendance. Distribution is expected to be completed by Sunday in all of the districts.

Families are receiving 5,000 taka (about US$60) to be used to buy essential items like rice, dried foods, candles, soap, baby food and household utensils. Recipients say they appreciate the freedom to choose what they can buy to meet their requirements, rather than having to make do with what they are given.

Looking forward

While the present flood situation continues to improve and water should recede within the next couple of weeks, there has been huge damage to water and sanitation facilities in homes and schools and many schools have been forced to close altogether.

The focus of Plan’s activities for this response will shift from cash transfers to child-friendly spaces, getting children back to primary school, hygiene facilities in schools and communities, pregnant and lactating mothers, and adolescent girls.

Many children are now unable to go to school as the buildings are underwater and so there is a need for places where girls and boys can continue their education informally in a safe environment until their schools are up and running again.

Looking forward to the rest of year, more monsoon rains and flooding are expected in August, which may mean further assistance from organisations like Plan will be required.

Plan has been operating in Bangladesh since 1994, helping poor children to access their rights to health, education, economic security and protection.

For further information contact:

Plan Bangladesh Communications Specialist Paul Subrata Malakar
Email: paul.malakar@plan-international.org
Phone: +880 2 9860167 ext 148