To ensure that emergency response organisations are able to reach floodaffected population, potential donors and volunteers, Facebook conducted a training to equip Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) with the critical digital capabilities to build out an outreach campaign and utilise Facebook’s tools and products to assist communities in the country.
Facebook also supported BDRCS and BRAC by helping to promote and amplify their content on crisis response among various groups.
Experts consider this year's flood as the longest one in terms of duration since 1998, directly affecting 33 districts and the lives of 5.5 million people. People's sufferings have deepened as it has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, causing millions of people to slip into dire poverty.
MdAli Reza Mazid, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said “Keeping the vision of a digital Bangladesh, we are striding ahead. Social media is already playing a vital role in tackling the risks of natural disasters in Bangladesh. When a global platform like Facebook has come forward to assist the flood-affected people of Bangladesh, it is going to be even easier for us to engage more people in this. I strongly appreciate this collaboration between Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, BRAC and Facebook in disaster response in Bangladesh.”
Sajedul Hasan, Director, BRAC Humanitarian Programme, thanked facebook for partnering with BRAC and said, "Post-flood rehabilitation is no less challenging than during-flood operations, considering shortage of work, drinking water and disease outbreaks. We appreciate the gracious support from Facebook in scaling up our efforts in the worst affected communities.”
BRAC launched its emergency response with its own fund immediately after the flood had hit the country, in coordination with the government and other national and international organisations. It disseminated early warning messages by incorporating COVID-19 preventive measures and distributed dry food and oral saline, including cash assistance to 50,000 families.
DT 2,000 each in the worst affected seven districts, namely Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogura, Jamalpur, Sirajganj and Sunamganj.
From the beginning of the flood, BDRCS mobilized more than 1,000 volunteers in 36 districts and provided essential services to more than 560,000 affected families including Water Sanitation & Hygiene, Food parcel and cash to meet their humanitarian needs. BDRCS volunteers also work closely with district administration and share useful information with affected populations to save their lives during the ongoing flood.
MdBelal Hossain, Director, Disaster Risk Management (DRM) said “During the recent floods, many people have lost everything. We have been on the ground since the beginning of the crisis, supporting vulnerable communities - not only by responding, but also by taking early measures to mitigate the loss.
In the aftermath, our aim is to ensure that these people have better shelter; sanitation and hygiene facilities; access to basic healthcare; and livelihood security. With the partnership of Facebook, we provided useful and relevant information to the affected population and look forward to fostering our response efforts for this year’s flood, as well as be better prepared with appropriate knowledge to use facebook platform for the next one.”
Facebook is home to the largest community of volunteers and donors, coming together to make the world a better place. Its Community Help tool within Crisis Response allows people to ask and offer help in the affected area for things like shelter, food, water, transportation and volunteer work. Also, earlier this year, Facebook responded quickly to the pandemic with a series of new products, tools and features, such as the COVID-19 Information Centre to keep people in Bangladesh safe and informed.
“Our hearts go out to the people and families who have been affected by the recent flooding. In times of crisis, people turn to Facebook to check on loved ones and get updates. They also turn to Facebook to offer their assistance. To build on our community’s generosity, we are supporting and partnering with both BRAC and BDRCS to help amplify their outreach campaigns to better serve the needs of the flood victims in Bangladesh. We will continue to work closely with local partners to strengthen our support to Bangladesh,” said Ashwani Rana, Public Policy Director for South Asia at Facebook.