TMT Online/UNB : United Nations Development Programme with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of Bangladesh is rolling out $1.5 million emergency food support for 50,000 extremely urban poor families to ameliorate some of their immediate hardships and counter potentially devastating socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergency COVID-19 response initiative has been implemented under UNDP’s Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities Project (LIUPCP) – a joint project being implemented by the Local Government Division of Bangladesh, DFID and UNDP with an aim to reduce urban poverty, said UNDP on Tuesday.“Reaching the urban poor and vulnerable very quickly and rapidly is always challenging in a global crisis like COVID-19. I am very pleased that DFID, in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh and UNDP, was able to respond so quickly,” said Judith Herbertson, DFID Bangladesh Country Representative. The livelihoods of a large number of urban poor have been severely disrupted due to the lockdown and the loss of income, said the DFID official. “By working closely with the officials of the City administration, the Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities Project is responding to the situation in a number of ways, including providing hand washing facilities and cash grants to buy food for those whose income has either stopped or been severely affected due to this unprecedented situation,” said Herbertson. “What we are trying to do under this initiative, is to make things easier for the people to follow the public order – which is to stay home and prevent the virus from spreading and therefore this partnership will deliver food at the doorsteps of the poor households. We are targeting 2.16 million urban poor people to keep them safe from Coronavirus. I thank DFID for their timely support,” said Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative, UNDP Bangladesh. The urban low-income communities in Bangladesh are exposed to high risk of infections for overcrowded living conditions with inadequate sanitation and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) facilities. The DFID has provided £3 million to UNDP to reach at least 2.16 million people in urban slums across 20 City Corporations/Municipalities with awareness raising information and handwashing facilities. The strong network and platform established by the project at the city corporation and municipal levels are being used to promote preparedness and early actions against the pandemic with a focus on vulnerable populations including women, children, elderly and persons with disabilities (PWD). Around 1200+ community workers, with full personal protection, are working on the ground to promote coronavirus prevention awareness including individual handwashing behavior and distribution of hygiene package that includes soap, hand sanitizer, etc. among the urban poor households. The project has also started installation of 2500 handwashing facilities at the poor settlements and is working to sensitize and build capacities of health officials and volunteers in 20 cities.
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