Demand for COVID-19 aid drops
The demand for aid has dropped as the coronavirus-hit unemployment was curbed by the resumption of economic activities around the country.
State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman has said aid packages are not being allotted since June 15 due to the drop in demand.
“These relief packages are instead being sent to flood-affected districts in the country,” he said on Wednesday, reports bdnews24.com.
Field-level officers said the demand for aid went down due to the reopening of offices and public transport on a limited scale, extension of shop and shopping mall hours to stay open, easing of the restrictive measures and the arrival of rice harvest season.
State Minister Enamur said, “Now the demand for aid is gone. Our deputy commissioners have reported the remaining relief items are still in stock. The low-income people who needed relief have returned to work while rice and mango have been harvested. All these have resolved the food crisis.”
He mentioned that a requisition for 200,000 tonnes of rice was sent to the finance ministry from the Prime Minister’s Office to keep supplies ready if needed.
A total of 100 tonnes of rice was sent to every flood-affected district along with Tk 1 million for each category ‘A’ affected districts and Tk 500,000 for every category ‘B’ zones, he added.
“We are gearing up with support in case people need aid during the floods. The forecasts say floods could last 2-3 weeks into August from the end of July.”
After the first COVID-19 case was discovered in Bangladesh on Mar 8, the education institutions were shut down on Mar 17 and offices were suspended on Mar 26 as the country went under lockdown for 66 days.
Towards the end of that month, the government began distributing aid packages for the poor, the marginalised and the jobless. The government supplied relief on Jun 11 last.
The government said it had allocated a total of over 211,000 tonnes of rice and Tk 1.23 billion in cash until then. From this, 189,182 tonnes of rice was distributed among over 71.62 million people from over 16.32 million families.
Out of Tk 958.37 million allocated as cash aid, over Tk 888 million was distributed among more than 43 million beneficiaries from nearly 9.74 million families.
The government allocated Tk 271.4 million for baby food but distributed Tk 254.02 million from the fund among over 800,000 families with over 1.7 million beneficiaries.