Mitigating the devastating humanitarian effects of the 2020 Bangladesh monsoon season
Jul 11, 2020

The 2020 Bangladesh monsoon season has begun, which means severe flooding with devastating humanitarian effects. However, this year, tens of thousands of vulnerable families will be better prepared through the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Forecast-based Financing unconditional cash transfers.

Earlier this month, days before their villages were hit by floodwaters, using reliable weather forecast, WFP dispatched cash to 6,000 vulnerable households (approximately 30,000 people) living within the flood zone in northern Bangladesh - including those headed by people with disabilities, the elderly and women. Each household received Tk4,500 (US$ 53) through the bKash mobile banking system to help them prepare for the looming disaster.

Again this Sunday, 12 July, WFP plans to dispatch another round of unconditional cash transfers if an activation trigger is reached. This time, WFP’s work will be supported with a landmark funding by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), under its Anticipatory Humanitarian Action pilot. The pilot represents a paradigmatic shift by the humanitarian sector in tackling humanitarian crises relating to natural hazards – from a responsive to an anticipatory approach. Some 55,000 vulnerable households in five districts in the Jamuna River basin are selected this time, and each will receive a one-off Tk4,500 (US$ 53) via the bKash mobile banking system before the flooding event.

Cash assistance based on forecasting is nothing new to WFP. Since 2018, with the support of the German and Korean governments, WFP has implemented forecast-based financing or early actions in Kurigram, which is one of the flood-prone districts in the Brahmaputra and Jamuna River basin. The anticipatory action is also implemented in the Philippines when typhoon Kammuri hit the country in 2019. A video explaining how it works can be viewed here.


James Whiting

Communications Consultant
Communications Unit,
Regional Bureau for Asia & Pacific
Bangkok, Thailand

M. +66 91 813 7131