Government Policy

GRC distributes grants for cyclone relief in Hatia

DHAKA, May 29, 2017 (BSS) - German Red Cross (GRC) today reached out grants amounting to Taka 52.90 lakh among 1,058 people in coastal of Hatia through private Bank Asia's agent banking platform as cyclone "Mora" was feared to be landing in coastline by tomorrow, a Bank Asia press release said today.

"The Bank disbursed a total of Taka 52.90 lakh (received from GRC) to 1,058 people of Hatia from morning to noon today . . . before cyclone falls," the release said.

Rekha Begum, 50, dressed with yellowish green cotton saree was waiting in cue for cash relief at a school premises in Hatia, a remote island of Noakhali district a couple of hour before falling the cyclone storm 'Mora'.

Rekha hailed from Laxmidia village, like others people gathered there, received Taka 5,000 cash relief of German Red Cross (GRC), a humanitarian organization after authentication with NFC (Near Field Communication) card holding in her hand.

For the first time in Bangladesh, such kind of cash relief payment was made by Bank Asia using its agent banking digital payment platform just before fall of the natural calamity.

"We had taken every initiatives to make the challenge a success: deployed sufficient manpower even moving additional staffs from nearby district, kept alert the Bank's Agent at Hatia and back office staffs in Dhaka and arranged uninterrupted cash support," Md. Ahsan Ul Alam, Vice President and Head of Agent Banking Division of Bank Asia said, adding "We also maintained time-to-time communications with the officials concerned from German Red Cross (GRC) to streamline whole the process."

M Arfan Ali, President and Managing Director of Bank Asia, who introduced Agent Banking Service in Bangladesh directly supervised whole the process of humanitarian grants payment from agent banking platform as it was great challenge for Bank Asia.

The Bank Asia team moved to the island a day before of inclement weather falls. In coordination with the volunteer organization, the payment was made from Promoda Government High School of Rajarhaola and Laxmidia Junior High School of Laxmidia village points. The island people moved to cyclone shelters after receiving the relief grants.

In March this year, the Bank Asia and German Red Cross (Bangladesh) signed the agreement on "Grants to the beneficiaries of GRC" with an aim to disburse GRC grants to its beneficiaries in disaster-prone areas of Bangladesh.

Under the agreement, the grants were transferred to respective beneficiaries' account opened with Bank Asia Agent Banking Service as a part of financial inclusion. Each of the beneficiaries also provided NFC card to make the payment fast.

"We are happy with this payment," said Olaf Neussner, Delegate, Forecast-Based Financing German Red Cross Office in Dhaka expressed his satisfaction with the new payment modalities for disaster-prone people.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)