The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Wednesday formally handed over 200 cyclone shelters repaired under USAID’s “Increasing Community Resilience to Disaster (ICR)” project, implemented by World Vision in southwest Bangladesh.
USAID Mission Director Kathryn Stevens virtually joined Ranjit Kumar Sen, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management to virtually handover the cyclone shelters, said the US Embassy in Dhaka.
The shelters provide over 100,000 community and project participants across Koyra, Dacope, Shyamnagar and Kaliganj Upazilas with access to safe and secure shelters during disasters such as cyclones and flooding and are the latest demonstration of the long-standing US 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 hand washing 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.
“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,” said Ranjit Kumar Sen in his opening remarks.
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 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 US 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.