Supporting flood Forecast-based Action and Learning (SUFAL) Project in the 2020 Monsoon Floods

Publication Date: 01/07/2021

Background: ‘Supporting flood Forecast-based Action and Learning’ (SUFAL) project was designed to contribute to reducing the adverse impacts of the increasing frequency of catastrophic flooding on the vulnerable and poor communities through Forecast-based Action (FbA). The project was funded by The Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and was implemented through a consortium led by CARE Bangladesh, with Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief and Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES). The project was implemented in three northern districts of Bangladesh: Jamalpur, Gaibandha, and Kurigram. FbA contributed to disseminating Flood Early Warning messages with a lead time of 10 – 15 days with timely and accurate weather forecast information, while and it also helping to identify potential flooding areas.

Methodology: The primary purpose of the study was to “Evaluate the impact of early actions” applied through the SUFAL project on household and community beneficiaries in responding to the 2020 monsoon floods. Customized OECD-DAC criteria, Quasi-experimental design (Difference-in-Difference Method), Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) framework and Value for Money (VfM) framework were used as guiding methods and tools to design study instruments and evaluate the impact of early actions at every stakeholder level. The study covered a control group in non-project areas and three treatment groups in the project areas: Treatment group 1 (EWM support), Treatment group 2 (EWM + Evacuation + Shelter + WASH support), Treatment group 3 (EWM + Evacuation + Shelter + WASH + Cash-grant support). Treatment groups were categorized in three different groups to conduct cost-effectiveness analysis. The study areas were in the districts of Kurigram (Hatia, Begumganj, Buraburi, Shaheber Alga unions), Gaibandha (Bharatkhali, Saghata, Ghuridaha, Haldia unions) and Jamalpur (Kulkandi, Chinaduli, Noarpara, Shapdhor. The survey sample consisted of 224 control respondents (of which 153 were women) and 754 treatment respondents (of which 426 were women), among which Sample for treatment group 1, 2, and 3 were 293 (100 women), 292 (192 women) and 169 (134 women), respectively. A total of 118 of the 754 treatment households interviewed through the survey were women-headed households and 38 out of 224 control group households were women headed households. The team had conducted 7 FGDs with community members in the three implementation areas, and 27 KIIs with community volunteers, project staff, government officials, and other related NGOs.

Impact: It was found through the study that less people in treatment group experienced damages compared to control households, treatment households saved more resources in 2020 than control households, and the average monetary values of assets saved by treatment group in 2020 were higher compared to the control group households. Due to the drawn-out duration and intensity of the flood in 2020, respondents reported that they were not able to prevent more damages although they took more early actions. Besides, treatment areas were the most flood affected areas. The early messages had helped the community to prevent damage to their assets and livelihoods. The percentage of damage prevented in agricultural sector for the treatment group had increased to 28% since the flood of 2019. The damage prevented in fisheries had increased significantly by 18 percent in 2020 in compared to that of 2019. The death of family members from waterborne diseases had decreased (except female members) in comparison to the previous flood in 2019. It is quite evident that the early warning message had enabled the males to take early actions regarding relocation of the vulnerable
family members to higher grounds, relative’s houses, or to the shelters. The cash for work modality had also helped the community people to obtain a source of income by working for the embankment, roads, bamboo bridges, etc. Shelter renovations and upgradations reportedly encouraged the community people to evacuate faster. The average amount of loan taken by a treatment respondent and control respondent was found to have been Taka 20,194 and Taka 18,335 respectively. However, post flood loan burden was significantly less for the cash grant recipients (only 32% took loan after flood) as compared to other treatment groups (more than 50% took loan). The
cash grants are said to have helped the recipients address their basic needs during the flood and also helped them to some extent to repair their house and pay for livestock treatment after the flood. [70 pages]

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