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Plan ramps up Bangladesh flood response

Houses built along the water's edge in danger of flooding
Houses built along the water's edge in danger of flooding
July 6, 2012

Plan is expanding its response to flooding in Bangladesh, doubling the budget to $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.

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 July 5, Plan began distributing emergency cash transfers to 7,000 flood-affected families in the north and southeast parts of Bangladesh, where more than 1.25 million people 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 organization 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. Distribution is expected to be completed by Sunday in all of the districts.

Families are receiving 5,000 taka (about $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.

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; 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.

With a second round of monsoon rains and flooding expected in August, further assistance may be required.

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

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