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Helping before disaster strikes – anticipatory humanitarian assistance in Bangladesh

Assisting with evacuation: people, livestock and possessions are brought to safety

Assisting with evacuation: people, livestock and possessions are brought to safety, © German Red Cross

13.10.2020 - Article

Thanks to support that was provided at the right time, thousands of people in Bangladesh could be protected from flooding. Through anticipatory humanitarian assistance, Germany is working in regions around the world that are particularly affected by climate change to save lives and limit damage.

Bangladesh: providing assistance before a flood

Helping before disaster strikes – what seemed a remote possibility only a few years ago became a German Red Cross pilot project that this year successfully saved the livelihoods of many thousands of people in Bangladesh.

When in late June meteorologists forecast flooding in many cities in Bangladesh, Federal Foreign Office partner organisations distributed payments of 50 euro each to 3000 households, thereby helping those affected to evacuate by boat. That way, people were able to react in time and save not only themselves, but also their possessions and livestock – an example of anticipatory humanitarian assistance.

10 million euro for disaster risk reduction in 2020

Anticipating humanitarian emergencies and taking preemptive action – that is the goal of the anticipatory humanitarian assistance that Germany has been backing for a number years with considerable funding. This has enabled lives to be saved and has limited damage; efforts focus on anticipating humanitarian emergencies and taking appropriate action.

Meanwhile, projects are being tested in more than 60 countries, and many of these are funded by Germany. 10 million euro have been made available for anticipatory humanitarian assistance in 2020. Soon, these activities may reach not merely a few thousand people, but several million.

Poorest regions are most severely affected by climate change

Anticipatory humanitarian assistance plays a significant role, particularly in connection with extreme weather events. Many regions in the world are already facing existential threats due to climate change, and the poorest regions are often the most severely affected. For example, temperatures in the Sahel region have increased markedly, and flooding is destroying the pastures that are vital to the local population’s survival. Bangladesh, too, is being hit by more frequent floods, and cyclones are becoming more common around the world.

13 October is International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

Disasters claim lives, destroy livelihoods and prevent sustainable development. This is why the United Nations has designated 13 October as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. It is intended to raise awareness about possible disasters and to enhance disaster risk reduction efforts.

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