Buraburi is situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, in Bangladesh. The majority of the area of this union is called “char”, or mainland which is separated by the river.
Every year, the people of Buraburi union must fight floods to survive.
Taposhi Rani is one of the habitants, living in Botla village with her husband and 6-year-old daughter.
In the devastating first wave of floods in 2020, cattle feed and rice seedbeds were submerged, and Taposhi Rani and her family encountered huge financial losses. Hay for feeding the animals valued at about BDT9,000 (86USD) was destroyed. Additionally, a seedbed of 15kg of paddy was drowned. Due to the water’s strong current, the foundation of the house was damaged beyond repair. After the house was submerged, Taposhi became ill, and she also had a miscarriage because of the stress.
“I was not able to even buy medication or cattle feed. The impact of the flood on our income was devastating” she said.
2020 was not only the year when the north-western part of Bangladesh experienced multiple spells of floods, but also the year when the COVID-19 pandemic increased human suffering as many people lost their sources of income.
When Taposhi Rani found out that a survey was being conducted to help the victims of COVID-19 and flooding by CARE Bangladesh’s ‘Supporting Flood Forecast-based Early Action and Learning’ (SUFAL) project, she met the person involved in the survey. Her family was identified to benefit from the cash assistance, and she received BDT3000 (28USD) ten days before the second wave of the floods.
“With the money, I was able to buy my medicines, and food for my family,” said Taposhi Rani. “I have also bought some fodder for the cattle. Because of the cash grant, I didn’t have to sell any cattle, or to take any loan to repair my house.”
Kurigram is one of the most flood prone districts in the northern part of Bangladesh, where most people live below the poverty line. The southern part of the district floods rapidly due to the sudden increase in the water levels of the Dharla, Dudhkumar and Brahmaputra rivers.
About 5,200 households were affected by the prolonged and multiple scale floods in 2020. The project distributed multipurpose cash grants to 370 of the most vulnerable households prior to the second wave of flooding. The cash support was aimed at supporting their immediate needs and to facilitate their preparations for the floods. With the cash grant, 90% of households purchased food, 62% spent it on their healthcare and 49% took early actions for the flood.
CARE’s experience has shown that to build climate resilience, people of all genders need to increase their assets and build their capacities to anticipate risks, absorb shocks and stresses. People need to adapt to evolving conditions and transform systems and structures. Access to financial services, whether informal or formal, can provide women with a better opportunity to diversify and invest in a business or other income generating activities that reduce dependency on climate vulnerable livelihoods. At the same time, access to financial services helps to deal with fluctuating incomes and provides a safety net during and after climate related shocks and stresses.
The SUFAL project is a consortium led by CARE, with partners Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief Bangladesh (first phase) and technical partner Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Asia (RIMES). SUFAL is funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).