40% of people have no income since March while 48% struggle to buy enough food, says a WFP assessment
Almost half of the urban population in Cox’s Bazar town has become vulnerable and struggled to access food during the Covid-19 pandemic due to significant downturns in livelihoods and income, a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) assessment has found.
Some 40% of those surveyed have had no income since March and 48% have struggled to buy enough food, according to the Cox’s Bazar Urban Vulnerability Assessment released on Monday.
As a result, they have been heavily relying on external assistance, including from the Government of Bangladesh and donors, it said.
“Covid-19 is more than a health crisis, it is also a socio-economic crisis for millions of people around the world. Here in Bangladesh, urban populations and those who rely on tourism or the informal wage sector to make a living are the hardest hit,” said Sheila Grudem, senior emergency coordinator for WFP in Cox’s Bazar.
Daily wage workers have experienced a more than 70% drop in income, while those self-employed have seen a 44% drop. Business owners and traders have seen income levels drop to two thirds of usual earnings during the lockdowns.
In April, WFP launched a program in Cox’s Bazar, targeting vulnerable members of the host community through food and cash assistance, complementing the existing distributions made by the government.
“As part of the Covid-19 response, WFP has provided the local communities with assistance through our livelihoods, school feeding, and disaster risk reduction programs. Now we are extending this work to cover half a million people in the district, including more than 62,000 people in the Sadar,” said Grudem.