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Switzerland opens 12 cyclone shelters in Bagerhat
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has opened 12 multipurpose community-based cyclone shelters to local communities for use, management and maintenance in Bagerhat district.
The SDC has constructed the cyclone shelters as the core part of the Swiss Government-supported comprehensive and multifaceted Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme which was adopted after the onslaught of super cyclone Sidr in the southern regions of the country in 2007, said a press release on Thursday.
The release said the DRR programme was reinforced following Cyclone Aila ravaged the region in 2009.
The shelters are located in the remote and disaster-prone areas of Morelganj and Sharankhola upazilas of Bagerhat. The cyclone shelters are two-storey buildings constructed on pillar basement. The first floor of each shelter is reserved to protect the livestock of the community during a disaster while the second floors of the shelters contain separate rooms for female/children/aged, male and sick people, with separate toilets for women and men and a storage room.
Each shelter is equipped with rainwater harvesting system, sanitation facility, solar energy cell and a generator to ensure independent functioning during a disaster.
Special attention was paid to good, but locally adapted building standards and quality, which will help to considerably increase the lifespan of the investment. The 12 shelters together can accommodate up to about 17,000 people and about 6,000 cattle.
The implementation of the project was based on strong community participation. The shelters are constructed on the land donated by the communities. Local government bodies and communities were consulted to identify vulnerable population and appropriate shelter locations.
The local communities have formed gender balanced Village Development Committees (VDC) and Shelter Management Committees (ABC) for proper maintenance of the shelters. SDC also supported activities to raise disaster awareness and preparedness among the local communities and to develop their capacity for the management and maintenance of the shelters.
During regular period, the multipurpose cyclone shelters will be used as community assets to hold social events and generate further income. SDC will continue to fund until end of 2013 a follow-up project focusing community works to help the communities to develop proper business plans for the utilization of these assets during non-disaster time for income generation purpose.