Project for Rehabilitation of Women and Children of SIDR (RWCS) affected area

    Background:    

    The south-western coast of Bangladesh is today a picture of death and devastation. Cyclone Sidr, the grade 4 cyclone, hit the south-western part of Bangladesh at 6.45 p.m. local time on 15 November 2007, with winds of 220-240 km/hr and a 5-meter tidal surge. The fury of this super cyclone was almost unprecedented and left a trail of death, destruction and desolation in its wake that has no parallel in the country in the past century. Latest estimates from Disaster Management Information Centre (DMIC), Ministry of Food and Disaster Management, Bangladesh, indicate the death toll is more than 3500. Furthermore, 34,508 were injured while up to 1,724 people are listed as missing.

    It is difficult to comprehend the scale of the disaster. DMIC figures further show that the disaster affected a total of 7,862,480 people from 1,572,495 families and completely/partially destroyed 1,178,974 houses (mostly tin-shed and thatched houses) in 30 districts in the southwest of Bangladesh. The affected areas include 200 Upazillas (sub-districts) and 1,727 unions (the smallest administrative unit). The cyclone also caused the contamination of drinking water sources, killed up to 461,750 livestock and destroyed an estimated 1.7 million acres of crops. Moreover, the cyclone resulted in extensive damage to other infrastructures, including educational institutions, roads, bridges, as well as electricity and telecommunication facilities. The destruction includes a quarter of the Sundarbans, a world heritage site consisting of the world’s largest single unit (over 400,000 hectares) of mangrove forest.

    The extent of devastation caused by cyclone Sidr

    Affected districts

    30

     

    Damaged trees

    2,547,755

    Affected Upazillas (sub-districts)

    200

     

    Houses damaged (fully)

    363,346

    Affected unions

    1,727

     

    Houses damaged (partially)

    815,628

    Affected households (families)

    1,572,495

     

    Educational institutions (fully)

    1,355

    Affected population

    6,770,456

     

    Educational institutions (partially)

    6,480

    Reported deaths

    2,997

     

    Roads damaged (fully) (in km)

    648

    People injured

    34,508

     

    Roads damaged (partially) (in km)

    88,549

    People missing

    1,724

     

    Embankment damaged (in km)

    524

    Livestock deaths

    461,750

     

    Crops damaged (fully) (in acres)

    461,399

     

     

     

    Crops damaged (partially) (in acres)

    1,235,970

    Natural disasters are a universal reality and global warming indicates they will happen more frequently in near future. Bringing any kind of normalcy to the area is a Herculean task in itself, including providing cyclone resistant structures for the future. Brotee forwards this proposal with a view to addressing the most vulnerable group – orphans/children, women, particularly widows and pregnant women – so that they can overcome hunger, secure employment and their livelihood in the longer term and acquire some preparedness for the next. 

    People need support for long term ‘recovery and rehabilitation’. The work that needs to be done to rehabilitate the people of Shyamnagor is enormous. Houses need to be rebuilt; children need to go back to school; traumatized children need care; skin diseases appear and pond water needs cleaning urgently; farmers want fertilizer, seeds and loans to prepare for next harvest; fishermen want fishing nets and boats; schools will receive books from government but children need pen,  writing papers and schools materials/toys (as requested by local school teachers); a trauma center for children where they can drop in and receive a meal, wash and bathe, receive trauma and health care; build a shelter or build a house (of two rooms to accommodate five families during disaster, a suggestion made by local people); shopkeepers who have lost everything asked for loans to restart their businesses and not relief; related community enterprises can bring hundreds of affected women and families into employment.

    Goal

    To achieve a safer haven for the coastal people who are victims of natural disasters and climate change in Bangladesh.

    General mandates of the objectives

    To take a stand against global warming, climate change and its effect on nature and people of Bangladesh; support eco balanced development; advocate and work for improved disaster management and facilitate the rehabilitation of the affected communities, especially women and children

    Specific mandates of the objectives

    • To work in Sidr cyclone hit area to rehabilitate some of the worst affected,  displaced women and children of Shyamnagor, Satkhira district; help restore affected natural water bodies and improve water access and facilitate a return to normal life and livelihood.
    • To undertake, with community participation, the first step of cleaning and dredging polluted village ponds as far as feasible so that the community has access to relatively safer water as an urgent need. (This can be followed by a further step for potable water).
    • To establish a children’s center for recreational learning, trauma therapy, and healthcare for the affected children of Gabura Union - a drop-in center for children to rest, have a warm meal, play/acquire skills and learn. They would also receive periodical health care.
    • To facilitate distant adoption of affected children.
    • To rehabilitate vulnerable women through village based income generation projects & employment of displaced women.

    Targets:

    • Rehabilitation of affected children
    • Village enterprises and employments of vulnerable and displaced people, particularly women.
    • Recovery of surface water bodies/ponds to give the people access to safe water and help recover the water balance destroyed by the cyclone.

    Project location: Shyamnagor Upazilla in Satkhira district.

    Financed by: North American Bangladeshi Islamic Community (NABIC), USA