Tuesday, August 11, 2020

EU provides €1.65 million to support victims of the devastating South Asia floods

 In response to severe flooding that have affected South Asia – most notably Bangladesh, India and Nepal – the European Union (EU) is providing €1.65 million in humanitarian aid funding.

The support comes on top of the €1.8 million announced earlier this year to support families affected by a series of disasters, including Cyclone Amphan that ravaged India and Bangladesh in May, bringing the total EU support to victims of disasters in the region to €3.45 million.

The flooding has affected some 17.5 million people, wiping out homes, livelihoods such as livestock and agricultural lands, and destroying vital infrastructure including roads, hospitals and schools. 

“The monsoon rains across South Asia have been particularly devastating this year and this urgent contribution will help our humanitarian partners on the ground in providing crucial support to those who have lost their shelters, belongings and sources of livelihood,” said Taheeni Thammannagoda, who oversees EU humanitarian programs in Asia and the Pacific. “Focusing on the worst affected countries, we are providing the means for people to survive through this difficult time so that they can get back on their feet as soon as possible.” 

Out of the total funding, €1 million will be dedicated to addressing the urgent humanitarian needs in Bangladesh, where over two million people are in need of food assistance, water, sanitation, hygiene and emergency shelter. Some 850,000 remain displaced, a figure expected to increase as rains continue. 

A further €500,000 will be used in India to provide food and livelihood assistance, emergency relief supplies, and water and sanitation services. So far, this year’s monsoon rains have impacted at 10.9 million and has amplified people’s vulnerabilities as they struggle to tackle the consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic. 

In Nepal, €150,000 will be used to address the pressing need for water and sanitation, shelter and essential household items following the displacement of thousands of people after the rains unleashed devastating landslides across the country. 

The funding is part of the EU’s Acute Large Emergency Response Tool (ALERT). Measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus will be incorporated in all programming.

With the onset of the annual monsoon in June, heavy and sustained rains have caused massive floods and landslides across South Asia, killing hundreds and affecting over 17.5 million people. The disaster has decimated people’s livelihoods and food resources. The poor access to clean water risks increasing the spread of disease - especially worrying during the coronavirus pandemic.

The European Union, along with its member states, is the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the European Union (EU) helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. The acute large emergency response tool (ALERT) is used to respond to large natural disasters where over 100,000 people or over 50 percent of the population are affected. Depending on the type of disaster, the aim is to allocate funds within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of the emergency.

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