What are the needs?
Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters including floods, cyclones, landslides, droughts and earthquakes. Humanitarian experts fear that its increasing population and hasty urbanisation will only intensify the consequences of disasters.
Floods and cyclones strike Bangladesh almost every year. In May 2013, the impact of cyclone Mahasen affected the livelihood and habitat of more than a million people in three southern districts.
For over three decades, the Rohingyas – a separate religious and linguistic ethnic group originally from Myanmar – have sought refuge in Bangladesh. Often unregistered, they live in temporary camps and require basic humanitarian assistance. Many children in the community are malnourished.
In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a remote south-eastern region of Bangladesh, the combination of a twenty-year long separatist conflict, demographic pressure, ethnic tensions, decreased productivity of traditional slash-and-burn agriculture, and an invasion of rodents a few years ago, has resulted in alarming levels of food insecurity.
How are we helping?
The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has been working in Bangladesh since 2002, both in disaster preparedness and emergency response activities. It continues to fund emergency assistance programmes for people affected by floods and cyclones, and remains committed to providing basic life-saving support to an estimated 45 000 unregistered Rohingya refugees living in the Kutupalong makeshift camp and Leda site.
In 2014, ECHO is continuing its provision of humanitarian aid to Bangladesh. This includes support for the Rohingyas and local populations living close to the refugee settlements, who receive health care, nutrition support, water and sanitation facilities and protection services. In addition, food insecure people in the Chittagong Hills Tract benefit from food and livelihood assistance programmes.
Increasingly, ECHO is funding community-based disaster preparedness programmes, supporting initiatives such as the building of flood-resistant infrastructure and early warning systems, amongst others. The EU has allocated € 3.65 million for Disaster Risk Reduction projects in 2013 and 2014. It has contributed € 12.65 million since 2001 to this end.