In partnership with the Bangladesh Red Crescent, we helped more than 1,000 households recover from the devastating effects of Cyclone Aila. The families live in six villages located in Khulna, one of the worst-affected districts. Our programme focused on recovery in three key areas:
- rebuilding destroyed homes
- building or repairing water and sanitation facilities
- helping people regain their livelihoods and earn an income.
The project also reduced people’s vulnerability to future disasters by designing more resilient housing, raising awareness in communities about potential hazards and improving the ability of communities to respond to disasters in the future.
We worked closely with the communities benefiting from this project, who took a proactive role in their own recovery. This included consulting them about the design, layout and materials of the shelter before procurement and construction began.
Traditionally, houses are made with a wooden frame, mud and bamboo walls and a straw roof. However, it was important to ensure the new houses could withstand severe storms in the future.
Community members were trained in the construction process which helped them develop the skills they need to carry out future repairs, if needed, and equip them for future construction work opportunities. Where possible, building materials were sourced from local markets, and local groups set up to construct materials such as latrine slabs, helped to stimulate the local economy.
Water and sanitation facilities
We helped build over 290 household latrines within the Khulna district and total of 33 community groups were set up. One man and one woman from each group was trained in hygiene awareness which they then taught to their community.
To support water supply, we made three rainwater collection ponds fit for use again after they were damaged and silted up during Cyclone Alia. These ponds provide year-round water for 5,000 people.
Helping people make a living
In the initial phase of the programme, around 200 community members were paid to transport construction materials and build some 614 shelters. The project provided families with £300 cash grants to buy assets such as livestock, fishing equipment and tools, which helped them develop livelihoods. Each of the 1,000 households we are worked with had an account set up in both the husband and wife’s name, into which the grants were paid.
We provided training in fields such as livestock management, home gardening and small business techniques, to ensure families have the knowledge and skills to get the most out of their grants.
Following an assessment of local business opportunities, we supported sustainable income-generating activities, such as fish and prawn farming, poultry farming, and vegetable and nursery gardening. As a result, more than 1,000 families can now provide their own basic needs and no longer have to rely upon humanitarian assistance.
We also taught families about food preservation to help them cope in times of reduced mobility and emergency situations.
Find out how we help women in Bangladesh prepare for cyclones
Last updated December 2011