You are here: Home News Cyclone shelters for livestock remain a concern in Bangladesh
Cyclone shelters for livestock remain a concern in Bangladesh

Oct 22, 2012

According to the Bangladesh government, there are some 3,700 cyclone shelters in coastal areas. However, only a small fraction have incorporated any type of livestock component in their construction.

When Bangladeshi subsistence farmer Nur Banu heard a cyclone was bearing down on her village and she needed to evacuate, the 70-year-old had only one thing on her mind.

“Not without my cow… Without it, I wouldn’t have any source of income,” she told IRIN later outside her home in Alakdia, a largely agricultural community of 700 people 25km north of the southern port city of Chittagong.

Such concern is common among poorer people in cyclone-prone coastal areas, where traditionally most people keep a cow, goat, sheep or poultry in their homesteads.

Most of those living in high risk cyclone areas are low income agricultural workers of whom 70 per cent are “landless” and relatively asset-poor, say experts.

According to the World Bank, more than half all rural communities in Bangladesh depend on livestock and agriculture as their primary source of livelihood.

Livestock matters

“Livestock plays a major role in these people’s lives. Any sudden loss of these assets can have a devastating impact,” Anisuzzamin Chowdhury, a senior programme officer with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Dhaka (which since 1993 has constructed 117 cyclone shelters along the coast) told IRIN.

“Many people would rather risk their lives and stay with their animals than go to the nearest cyclone shelter. They know the recovery will be difficult without them.”

Yet despite this, livestock has never fully figured into the government’s construction of cyclone shelters, most of which were built after Cyclone Bhola in 1970, which claimed over half a million lives.

Although cyclone deaths have dropped significantly with their construction, economic damage, including livestock losses, continue to take a toll.

In 1991, over one million cattle were lost in a tidal surge and flooding that followed super cyclone Marian, while in 2007, another one million livestock perished in Cyclone Sidr, a significantly less powerful storm.

"In recent years, Bangladesh has made strong efforts to reduce the number of deaths from cyclones," said Farid Hasan Ahmed, a senior programme officer with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Dhaka. "However, on the issue of protecting livestock there is still a significant gap."

According to the Bangladesh government, there are some 3,700 cyclone shelters in coastal areas. However, only a small fraction have incorporated any type of livestock component in their construction.

“Less than 2 percent of all cyclone shelters have any kind of livestock component,” said Munibur Rahman, a senior engineer and project director with the government’s Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), the main body charged with building cyclone shelters in Bangladesh.

Earlier this year, SDC completed construction of 12 multi-purpose community-based cyclone shelters in Bagerhat District, taking on board many of the concerns of Nur Banu’s community.

Each shelter can accommodate 1,000-1,300 people and 450-500 cattle, and includes separate rooms for men, women and sick people, as well as toilet facilities, a rainwater tank, solar panels, generator and loudspeaker.

The 12 shelters can accommodate some 17,000 people and about 6,000 cattle.

SOURCE: IRIN

Add comment

You can add a comment by filling out the form below. Plain text formatting. Comments are moderated.

Most Read
Most Shared
You May Like
search

blank.gif

blank.gif

Vacancies at OneWorld

CRFC: Toll free number

Global Goals 2030
 
OneWorld South Asia Group of Websites