WFP, Oxfam, Green Delta Insurance to help protect labourers

Dhaka, Aug 03 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Oxfam Bangladesh and Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd have launched a new insurance scheme to protect casual agricultural labourers in Bangladesh from floods during this monsoon.
Recognising the wages lost due to disasters during the monsoon period which runs from the beginning of July to end September 2020, the scheme will support 2,000 casual labourers engaged in agricultural work in Jatrapur and Ranigonj unions under Kurigram Sadar and Chilmari upazilas.
The ongoing flood has affected more than 1 million people in South Asia this month, WFP said Monday.
Based on the set parameters of flood index, each household will receive a pay-out of Tk 2,700 to 18,000 to cover their wage losses caused by severe flooding.
“People in Bangladesh do not have protection against the losses and damages caused by annual flooding. That’s why WFP is introducing a flood insurance scheme – the first of its kind,” said Richard Ragan, WFP Country Representative in Bangladesh.
More frequent rain and the changing climate have increased flooding in Bangladesh.
The country is currently facing a devastating flood that has submerged towns and destroyed homes and crops, adding to the suffering already caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Developed with funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the overall goal of the risk transfer solution is to enhance households’ and communities’ abilities to absorb climate shocks, improve their ability to reduce and manage risk and maintain food security.
Young-ah Doh, Country Director of KOICA Bangladesh Office, said heavy precipitation and the onrush of water from upstream have already inundated not only the project areas, but also whole districts in the northern and eastern regions.
Vulnerable people, especially casual labourers and smallholder farmers have been affected most with loss of wages and agricultural produce, Doh said.
“KOICA believes that the innovative approaches, namely Index-based Flood Insurance, Forecast-based Financing and Seasonal Livelihood approaches, which are being piloted in this project will help reduce human suffering and the losses of the affected people. With a mission to leave no one behind with People-centered Peace and Prosperity, KOICA stands by the people of Bangladesh.”
Oxfam Bangladesh’s Country Director Dipankar Datta said while climate change affects all, many low-income communities like casual labourers in the agricultural sector are bearing the brunt of the impact that further drives inequality, even with them being the least responsible to contribute to climate change.
“We hope that the government will replicate and scale up our newly launched index-based flood insurance product to minimise the risk of extreme vulnerabilities and inequalities faced by the marginalised communities involved in agriculture in this country.”
The product has been developed based on an analysis of over 19 years of satellite data and validated by water level and rainfall data.
The pay-out will be made based on pre-defined flood indexed parameters such as the inundated area as a percentage of the total geographical area and the duration of flooding. Green Delta Insurance Ltd will cover the risk as the insurer.
Managing Director and CEO of Green Delta Insurance Farzanah Chowdhury said through supporting marginalised people by ensuring their financial security during devastating floods, it will also strengthen the SDG journey of Bangladesh.
“I am excited about this partnership with WFP and Oxfam in Bangladesh as the product will be addressing the challenges faced by agriculture labourers due to climate change,” she said.
Technical partners, Weather Risk Management Services (WRMS), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and Save Earth Climate Services Ltd provided historical data to develop the index-based flood insurance product. – UNB