Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) has distributed cash assistance to vulnerable urban communities located in Dhaka South City Corporation with support of German Red Cross.
These urban communities have lost their incomes due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the country was under general holidays for almost two and half months, said BDRCS on Tuesday.
Based on the minimum expenditure basket, each individual received Tk 5,000 through bkash to enable them to meet essential needs such as food, medicines and other utilities.
This cash grant support was provided as part of repurposed intervention towards COVID-19 response by BDRCS with support from German Red Cross who leads on a Consortium project called Dhaka Earthquake and Emergency Preparedness -Enhancing Resilience (DEEPER) with other partners such as British Red Cross, Christian Aid and Action Contre La Faim (ACF) and IFRC as technical partner.
This redirected intervention is ongoing since early April with psychosocial support through online counselling and awareness raising on COVID-19 through information, education and communication materials.
Md. Feroz Salah Uddin, BDRCS Secretary General said cash distribution is one of the key response strategies of the BDRCS.
"It contributes towards community empowerment and thereby upholding the localization approach. This cash grant support will help households in the provision of basic essentials of life”.
A comprehensive selection criterion was developed focusing on the households affected and/or displaced due to COVID-19.
Priority was given to households living on day labor or charity and loss of income; female-headed poor households (including widow, divorced, separated, single women)
The recipients of the cash support are local communities of Dhaka South City Corporation living in 18 wards wherein BDRCS is implementing the earthquake preparedness project for few years.
A list of 9,000 households was received by the Dhaka City Unit of BDRCS for assistance. Out of which 1,800 households will be provided cash grants as per criterions.
German Red Cross Senior Representative Gaurav Ray said urban communities are among those who have been especially hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak in Bangladesh.
"Many of the poor families live hand to mouth under highly precarious settings. The loss of income and livelihoods has exacerbated their vulnerabilities."
“We would continue to look for more resources to cover more families in future with cash grant support and compliment the BDRCS efforts to reduce suffering in this difficult time,” said Gaurav Ray.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten communities globally, especially high-risk urban populations including migrant workers, street hawkers and people with low strata of income, it’s no different in Bangladesh.
Like in other countries, Bangladeshi urban communities and labor force have been disproportionately affected by the crisis, with widespread layoffs leaving many in a precarious financial situation, unable to meet their basic needs, according to BDRCS.