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 different parts of Bangladesh almost every year. In mid-2015, Tropical Cyclone Komen brought torrential downpours which triggered heavy floods and a series of mudslides in various areas along the coast, particularly those in the southeastern region. The event left more than 320 000 individuals displaced and over 1.8 million others affected. In addition, recurring cycles of waterlogging have continued to affect food security and livelihoods of communities in the south-western region.
For over three decades, the Rohingya – a separate religious and linguistic ethnic group originally from Myanmar/Burma – 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 20-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 natural disasters, 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 2016, the Commission 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, as well as food security and livelihood support programmes in the remote areas of the Chittagong Hills Tracts.
Increasingly, the Commission 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 €2.7 million for disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and resilience building projects in 2016. It has contributed more than €20 million since 2001 to this end.