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UK support for victims of the devastating floods in South Asia

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Humanitarian aid, South Asia

There is continued coverage of the devastating flooding in South Asia.

DFID’s work has been pivotal in supporting the governments of Bangladesh and Nepal to respond quickly and effectively to help people who have been affected.

This includes:

  • working in the affected countries in advance of the floods to ensure pre-positioned supplies and plans were in place to enable a rapid response
  • helping the respective governments and aid agencies coordinate the relief effort
  • delivering crucial funding since the flooding hit, to get urgent help to those worst affected

The efforts and expertise of the UK government continue to make a major difference on the ground.

Preparing countries for disasters

Over several years DFID has undertaken significant work in Bangladesh and Nepal to develop their capacity to respond to natural disasters. This meant the governments of Nepal and Bangladesh were able to react quickly and effectively to the crisis.

Significant DFID investments in preparedness – through pre-positioned supplies, shelters and infrastructure - have been vital in supporting the hardest hit communities. Previous UK support in Bangladesh funded emergency flood shelters, and in Nepal the UK funded the construction of a humanitarian staging area at Kathmandu airport. Both are being used now.

Coordinating the humanitarian response

The UK is a key international donor on the flood response, and DFID staff in Nepal and Bangladesh are working closely with the UN and other donors and aid agencies to coordinate the response. In addition to recently announced funding, we fund two positions (in Dhaka and Kathmandu) to work directly with the UN Resident Coordinator on long-term planning and preparation for emergency response.

Getting urgent help to those in need

The UK’s START fund has contributed £660,000 in Bangladesh to provide food, financial assistance, water and sanitation to people in the worst affected areas. We are the largest contributor after the Government of Bangladesh itself, and the quickest to respond. We are currently considering additional funding in consultation with partners.

DFID Bangladesh is earmarking £7.9 million for disaster preparedness from 2016-2021. It will further strengthen preparedness for large-scale catastrophic emergencies such as earthquakes, cyclones and the flooding we are witnessing right now. The programme includes support to the UN, and includes preparation for humanitarian co-ordination, stockpiling key essential supplies, and the construction of a humanitarian staging area. DFID Bangladesh was already providing £3 million for early recovery support in the North East of Bangladesh for earlier monsoon flooding, before this latest disaster.

DFID has also allocated £400,000 to the Nepal Red Cross Society for the response. Of this total, 75% is earmarked for water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihood recovery, and health.

DFID Nepal is setting aside £46 million between 2016 and 2022, for strengthening disaster resilience and responding to humanitarian emergencies. This includes better urban planning in disaster-prone population centres, stockpiling key items, and a contingency fund.

In India, as the government has not requested international assistance. DFID’s response has been through the START Fund global consortia of NGOs, which responds to small and medium emergencies. The multi-donor global START Fund has allocated £325,000 for the Nepal flood response and £400,000 for India.

Over 41 million people have been affected by monsoon rains in South Asia - 32.1m in India, 8m in Bangladesh and 1.7m in Nepal. Road networks and bridges have also been destroyed, potentially affecting humanitarian access in some areas.

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