How do Bangladesh’s cyclone shelters work?

Bangladesh has a long history of suffering from the effects of cyclones, such as this one in 1991: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Bangladesh_cyclone. This article discusses Bangladesh’s vulnerability to cyclones and attempts to lessen that vulnerability: http://www.climate.org/PDF/Bangladesh.pdf.

Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable because so much of its land is low lying and as a nation, it has a relatively low level of economic development, meaning less money is available to spend on defences and recovery. 

To try to help limit the loss of life, thereby promoting faster recovery from cyclones and other flooding events, shelters have been built on stilts, allowing the population to take refuge from the rising water.

In 2008 Bangladesh had a network of around 1500 shelters, capable of holding thousands of people each, and this due to be increased substantially following the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in 2008, which killed around 3300 people in Bangladesh: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKDHA105884._CH_.242020080108 & http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=76490.

The shelters are built on pillars to keep them above the water and usually perform a dual role as community centres. You can find lots of images of cyclone shelters here: http://www.archnet.org/library/sites/one-site.jsp?site_id=6452

Many cyclone shelters are built with aid donated from MEDCs and NGOs, such as these ones being built by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC):

 http://www.swiss-cooperation.admin.ch/bangladesh/en/Home/Humanitarian_Aid_and_Disaster_Risk_Reduction_DRR/Community_Based_DRR_Programme_Cyclone_Shelter_Construction_Component

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