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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How has DFID helped the people of Bangladesh escape hazards associated withe river flooding?

Bangladesh id a relatively low-lying developing nation. As well as suffering from coastal flooding, much of the land is at risk from river flooding, which also brings much-needed nutrients in the form of river sediment.

You can find the overall development plan for Bangladesh from 2007 to 2009 here:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/BICAPfina20070903public.pdf

Ond DFID backed project is helping people who live on islands or “chars” in the Ganges-Brahmaputra River:

http://www.clp-bangladesh.org/

This has helped deal people cope with floods such as those in 2007:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/floods.asp

Cyclone Sidr battered the coast of Bangladesh in November 2007. What will the lasting effects be?

Here is how the news of the cyclone broke. Later there was more infomation about the effects of the cyclone. The emergency response was rapid. Many survived the cyclone itself, but could not survive in the conditions it left behind. The aid effort gathered pace. 

How have Bangladesh’s natural coastal flooding defences, the mangroves, held up to the cyclone? Three months on and many people were still homeless. Lack of proper housing for victims of Cyclone Sidr left them vulnerable as the monsoon rains approached. This was echoed later in the season.

The BBC World Service took a boat journey through Bangladesh in the aftermath of the 2007 cyclone to see how people were being affected.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) provides cyclone warnings for the Indian Ocean area.