TPT Dhaka Bureau:
On September 29, 2021, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Kathryn Stevens joined Ranjit Kumar Sen, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management to virtually hand over 200 cyclone shelters repaired under USAID’s “Increasing Community Resilience to Disaster (ICR)” project, implemented by World Vision in southwest Bangladesh. The shelters provide over 100,000 community and project participants across Koyra, Dacope, Shyamnagar, and Kaliganj sub-districts with access to safe and secure shelters during disasters such as cyclones and flooding and are the latest demonstration of the long-standing U.S. commitment to the people of Bangladesh.
As a result of the renovation work, communities are now able to access the shelters with clean WASH facilities including safe and potable water sources for drinking, toilets, and handwashing facilities which are now more important than ever in light of COVID. Shelters are also more accessible with improved access roads and ramps and have safe spaces for vulnerable groups including women, adolescents, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
In his opening remarks, Mr. R. Kumar Sen, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, emphasized, “With USAID and World Vision support, communities in Koyra, Dacope, Kaliganj, and Shyamnagar have access to safe cyclone shelters.
Now, these shelters are the joint responsibility of communities and the Government. We must take care of these shelters so that they keep our communities safe during frequent disasters such as cyclones and floods.”
Speaking as a special guest during the event, USAID Mission Director Kathryn Stevens said “Since 2001, USAID has worked with the Government of Bangladesh to build over 700 multi-purpose cyclone shelters in high-risk areas that have helped save thousands of lives all over the country. Over the past two years, USAID has supported the refurbishment of these additional 200 shelters. This work included a range of repairs including water, sanitation, and electrical systems; painting; improving access roads and ramps to increase accessibility — all to provide safe spaces for women, children, families, and persons with disabilities.”
Through targeted interventions like this one, USAID is working to increase the institutionalized capacity, coordination, and infrastructure required to prepare, respond and reduce risks related to cyclones and other environmental shocks. The U.S. government, through USAID, has provided more than $8 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971. Since 2020, USAID has provided over $200 million to improve the lives of people in Bangladesh through programs that expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education, promote democratic institutions and practices, protect the environment, and increase resilience to climate change.