IFRC releases new fund after Bangladesh flood forecast

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released more than 230,000 Swiss francs ($240,000) fund for anticipatory action after new flood forecast in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society on Wednesday said they had already swung into action in Kurigram, Gaibandha and Jamalpur districts with the fund for implementing early actions to protect the lives, property and livelihoods.

This is the second time in six weeks that the IFRC has released forecast-based funds to support early and life-saving action in Bangladesh, after releasing more than 134,000 Swiss francs ($138,000) ahead of Cyclone Amphan in May.

Bangladesh is already grappling to fight off the pandemic coronavirus.

The Global Flood Awareness System (GLOFAS) has issued a flood forecast with a more than 50 percent probability of a severe 1-in-10-year flood submerging some areas of Bangladesh for at least three days. This can affect 4.1 million people in large areas across Bangladesh.

A 5-day forecast by Bangladesh’s Flood Forecast and Warning Centre (FFWC) has also confirmed the severity of the flood.

Bangladesh Red Crescent’s Secretary General Md. Feroz Salah Uddin said the flood water is rising alarmingly and many areas are already inundated. 

“Our volunteers and staff are on the ground to assist the most vulnerable communities before the water reaches the danger level. This funding will help us accelerate our early actions when time is running out.” 

This IFRC’s funding will help support Bangladesh Red Crescent in evacuating people in the most at risk communities to safe shelters with their valuable assets and livestock; providing unconditional cash grants to those affected; and giving first aid treatment to those who need it.

Precautionary measures are also being taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by pre-positioning facemasks and hand sanitisers for distribution.

IFRC Head of Bangladesh Country Office Azmat Ulla said “As a potentially severe flood continues to threaten millions of people in Bangladesh, we are taking a variety of preparedness measures to save lives and reduce loss.”

“Together with Bangladesh Red Crescent we are reaching out to the communities in need to help them evacuate and to provide them with cash grants that give people in the path of floodwaters the ability to address their most urgent needs.”

“The compounding effects of COVID-19 and the floods could be devastating and this funding is crucial to reducing the impact as much as possible.”

Early actions and forecast thresholds are pre-defined and agreed in Red Crescent’s Early Action Protocol for Floods that has been developed with support of German Red Cross and Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.