#Bangladesh, #WorldBank, #BangladeshSanitation
Dhaka, Oct 30 (Canadian-Media): The government of Bangladesh on Wednesday signed a $100 million financing agreement with the World Bank to ensure improved water supply, sanitation, and drainage system in selected 30 municipalities, benefiting about 600,000 people.
Image credit: Pixabay
The Municipal Water Supply and Sanitation Project will provide safe piped water to residents of selected municipalities that currently do not have piped water facilities. The project will facilitate public private partnerships and help build infrastructures, including water treatment facility, water storage, transmission and distribution pipe network, house connections, including meters, as well as improved sanitation facilities in low income areas and slums.
Today, more and more people are living in cities, creating an urgent demand for quality urban infrastructures, including water and sanitation services,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan. “This project will help the people living in small towns, including the slum dwellers get piped water and improved sanitation and drainage services. With greater access to clean water, the women will have more time otherwise spent for collecting water, as well the health of their children will improve resulting in better school attendance.”
The project will help construct public toilets. It will invest in septage management and disposal, as well as provide training to cleaning workers in fecal sludge management. It will also identify and mitigate measures for critical areas prone to flooding.
“In the Sector Development Plan and the National Strategy for Water Supply and Sanitation, the government has aimed for 85 to 90 percent piped water supply coverage in municipalities by 2025,” said Monowar Ahmed, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh. “The project will help the municipalities have greater capacity to manage and deliver water and sanitation services.”
To facilitate citizen’s feedback, the project will develop mobile apps IT enabled complaint redressal systems and annual citizen surveys.
The agreement was signed by Monowar Ahmed and Mercy Tembon on behalf of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.
The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period, and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent and an interest of 1.25 percent. The project also includes $100 million financing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and $9.53 million financing from the government of Bangladesh.
The World Bank is among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its Independence. Bangladesh currently has the largest IDA program totaling $12.15 billion. Since independence, the World Bank has committed more than $30 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits to the country.
New York, Oct 23 (Canadian-Media): “Substantial” shortfalls in humanitarian funding are placing the lives of millions of children in areas affected by conflict and disaster at risk, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Tuesday.
Women who fled violence and in the Central African Republic queue with their children to receive treatment at a UNICEF-supported clinic. Image Credit: UNICEF/Bindra
With 2019 almost over, the agency reported that it has still only received just over half of the $4 billion it needs this year, to provide life-saving health, education, nutrition and protection programmes for 41 million children in nearly 60 countries worldwide.
“Millions of vulnerable children around the world are suffering the grievous consequences of increasingly complex humanitarian crises”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“Without additional resources, these children will not go to school, be vaccinated, receive adequate nutrition, or be protected from violence and abuse. While we continue to appeal for an end to conflicts and better readiness to emergencies, we need additional donor support to help us meet children’s most basic needs.”
Emergencies in Pakistan, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Venezuela currently have the largest funding gaps, but the agency’s ability to respond in Syria and neighbouring countries - as well as in Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Bangladesh - also remains significantly underfunded.
UNICEF said the consequences will be “dire” if the shortfalls persist through the end of the year.
For example, the agency requires $61 million to provide essential services in communities in the DRC that have long suffered from humanitarian and security crises.
At the same time, these areas are currently facing an Ebola outbreak and UNICEF is working to create an environment that is conducive to effectively respond to the disease.
Meanwhile, as war continues across many parts of Syria, 460,000 child refugees could miss out on education due to a $249 million funding gap for UNICEF programs in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Ms. Fore, the UNICEF Executive Director, appealed for a surge in support: “During my time on the ground in countries under crisis – countries like DRC, Mozambique, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen – I’ve seen firsthand the power of humanitarian funding to change the lives of vulnerable children for the better,” she said.
“With increased support, together we can reach even more of the children who need us most.”
United Nations, Oct 19 (Canadian-Media): Shelling and clashes in northern Syria on the border with Turkey continue to cause hundreds of people to flee, the UN said on Friday, despite a cessation of hostilities deal between Turkish forces and Syrian-backed Kurdish military.
A refugee family from Syria in Bardarash refugee camp in Iraq/© UNHCR/Rasheed Hussein Rasheed
Hailed as a ceasefire by some governments and a five-day pause in hostilities by others on Thursday, the agreement comes nine days into a military campaign launched by Turkey against Kurdish-held territory on its southern border, east of the Euphrates river.
“Despite the announcement of the ceasefire…shelling and intermittent clashes continue to be reported around Ras-al-Ain as of this morning, although the situation is reportedly calm elsewhere”, said Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Humanitarians still working ‘where access allows’
Updating journalists in Geneva, several UN agencies confirmed that they were continuing to deliver aid and provide basic services in the conflict zone “where access allows”.
Highlighting critical needs, the World Health Organization (WHO) appealed for the humanitarian response to be scaled-up urgently.
Spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic noted that 40 tonnes of medical supplies had been airlifted from Damascus to Qamishli earlier this week, while Ras al Ain and Tal Abyad hospitals remain closed.
This has made Tal Tamr Hospital “the main reception point for wounded persons coming from conflict at Ras al Ain”, he explained, adding that it has “struggled to cope with the influx of patients" and patients who have since been sent to Al Hasakeh and Qamishli.
The WHO supplies – which include more than 100,000 treatments and 620 trauma kits – will be distributed to facilities in Al-Hasakeh, rural Raqqa and rural Deir-ez-Zor.
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced on Friday that it plans reach 580,000 people in affected areas this month.
Since 9 October, the UN agency has provided assistance to 170,000 people, spokesperson Herve Verhoosel said. “There are more than 165,000 people on the move in the north-east, and they seek shelter in Al-Hasakeh and in Raqqa,” he added. “Many people in those cities choose to stay with family and friends rather than in collective shelters, so that figure in fact can even be higher.”
‘Deconfliction’ call from UNICEF to allow repairs to water supply
Lack of drinking water to 400,000 people is still a serious concern in Al-Hasakeh, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said, noting that the Alouk water pumping station there is still not working owing to damage to power lines.
“Deconfliction is needed to allow UNICEF to supply 16,000 litres of fuel on a daily basis in order to run the back-up generators,” insisted spokesperson Marixie Mercado.
Asked to comment on Turkey’s reported wish to send home some of the nearly four million Syrian refugees who have been sheltering in the country for years, to live in a so-called "safe zone", Andrej Mahecic from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) replied that it had not seen any proposals “from any party”.
Syrians must only be returned from Turkey if they want to go: UNHCR
Reiterating the agency’s stance on the return of refugees, he insisted that any return of refugees to Syria or any other place in the world “has to be voluntary, it has to be dignified and it has to be safe at the time when it is safe to return”.
Mr. Mahecic confirmed that for the fifth consecutive day, hundreds of people continue to arrive in Iraq after fleeing north-east Syria, mostly women, children and the elderly.
“Another 734 refugees have entered Iraq last night. That is in addition to the 1,600 that we have moved to Bardarash camp over the past four days,” the UNHCR official said, adding that they reported fleeing shelling and fighting on their way to the border.