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UK commits $3.6 million in aid to minimize impact of disasters in Bangladesh, other countries

  • Published at 01:30 pm September 11th, 2021
File photo of a river flowing above the danger level in Bangladesh BSS

The UK has led a push for the international community to take more action ahead of disasters

UK Minister for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly has announced a package of new UK support including $2.1 million for "Start Funds" in Bangladesh and Nepal to help national and international NGOs anticipate and react to disasters.

Meanwhile, $1.5 million will go to the Start Network for civil society projects in Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and the Philippines to help develop disaster risk finance systems in these countries. 

The UK has led a push for the international community to take more action ahead of disasters – rather than responding reactively to them and commits $3.6 million in aid to minimize the humanitarian impact of disasters. 

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At an event jointly hosted by the UK, Germany, and UN OCHA, UK Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly warned that conflict, Covid-19, and climate change are driving unprecedented levels of humanitarian need.

He called on donors and aid agencies to “do humanitarian aid differently” and use technology and forecasting to pre-empt disasters such as flooding, drought, or disease outbreak, and reduce their impact on the most vulnerable.

The UK is a recognized leader in anticipatory action, which involves identifying hazards, pre-agreeing action plans and funding, and triggering a response when a “risk threshold” is crossed. 

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Minister James Cleverly said developments in science, technology, and data mean they can identify the risk of disasters better than ever beforehand yet they still too often wait for floods, droughts, and diseases to strike before they respond.

"We need to do humanitarian aid differently – to act ahead of shocks, to mitigate their impact. In the face of intensifying climate change, the whole aid system needs to come together to stop, minimize, and address the threat of loss and destruction caused by environmental damage. We know that this proactive approach can save lives."

Protecting vulnerable communities from disasters, and addressing, minimizing, and averting the loss and damage caused by the impacts of climate change, is a priority for the UK as it hosts the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, in November 2021. 

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With natural hazards increasing in both frequency and severity as a result of climate change, anticipatory action and disaster risk finance have an increasingly critical role to play, said the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. 

The “High-level Humanitarian Event on Anticipatory Action: A Commitment to Act Ahead of Crises” aimed to scale up the use of anticipatory action, galvanize a collective push to act ahead of crises, mitigate their impact and map a common way forward.