COVID-19 pandemic has hit economies around the world. With the government lockdown, daily wage earners in Teknaf and Ukhiya Upazilas in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh have been facing challenges with their livelihoods in the past few weeks. The already vulnerable, such as women, people with disabilities, indigenous communities and aged people are worst hit with “suspended” sources of livelihoods which sometimes translate to lack of food and access to other facilities.
UNDP Cox’s Bazar Crisis Response Office through its “Community Cohesion in Cox’s Bazar Project” (CCP), funded by Global Affairs Canada, has begun reaching out to vulnerable persons with emergency support in Teknaf and Ukhiya Upazilas. 2568 families from 5 unions in 42 wards are being targeted with cash grants and hygiene kits to meet immediate needs for subsistence and to keep them safe from COVID-19.
Kanti Tanchangya is a 63-year-old woman living in the hills at Whykhong Union of Teknaf Upazila. Her family survives on basic agriculture and daily wages as labourers. She says, “After the lockdown, it was very difficult for my family to get enough food but we can now buy food with the money given to us by UNDP.”
Similarly, a new mother, who was one of the beneficiaries in Baharchara Union Parishad, Teknaf, says “It is the 12th day of my son’s birth and I am here to collect emergency support from UNDP because we are passing through critical times due to COVID-19. I am so happy with this amount of money; I hope to buy fruits and vegetables for me and my family.”
Among the emergency support recipients, 37% are women, 8% persons with disabilities and 16% from indigenous communities. Beneficiaries were selected in conjunction with UNO’s offices and Union Parishads.
Plans are being finalized to replicate same response in other locations by different projects under UNDP Cox’s Bazar Crisis Response Office.