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EU Fast-Tracks Aid For Bangladesh Cyclone Victims

European Commission announces fast-track aid for cyclone victims in Bangladesh

The European Commission has released €1.5 million in fast-track aid to to help the most vulnerable people affected by Cyclone Sidr which struck Bangladesh yesterday evening.

The category 4 cyclone hit coastal regions with winds up to 240km/h causing wide-spread devestation and loss of life. Early reports already put the death-toll in the hundreds with hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

Expressing his sympathy with the victims, Louis Michel, the European Commissioner responsible for Development and Humanitarian Aid said: "This is a major tragedy with hundreds already known to have died and hundreds of thousands suffering from this disaster. Homes, crops and livelihoods have been destroyed and people need help quickly. The fast-track funding that we are deploying will focus on meeting basic humanitarian needs in the stricken area."

Experts from the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) were sent from Dhaka to the affected region early this morning.

Their initial reports underline that the immediate needs are for food, safe drinking water, temporary shelters and basic household items (including blankets, jerricans, clothes and kitchen sets). Humanitarian funds are channelled through partner implementing agencies: the Red Cross/Crescent movement, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations that specialise in disaster relief.

The European Commission has been extensively involved in disaster-preparedness in Bangladesh for many years. It has provided significant support to the disaster response system activated by the government yesterday, with funding for community-based preparedness work, early warning systems and evacuation training.

ECHO field experts will continue to monitor the situation on the ground, working closely with its partners.


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