Caritas Bangladesh builds shelters that offer protection when cyclones hit. They work with villagers to make sure that everyone knows about evacuation plans and that there is enough food to last through the storms.
Tanjibul Hussain Sujon is a community volunteer in Bangladesh. He said, “There is a group of us who keep in touch by radio.We receive early warning signals when a disaster happens and organise evacuations.”
Where there are no cyclone shelters, Caritas helps to adapt existing buildings, such as schools, so that they can provide a safe refuge during extreme weather.
In remote Mothurapur in Bangladesh’s vast Sundarbans forest, Caritas began work on improvements to the village school in July 2008, raising the level of the floors and cementing them, strengthening pillars, building water-sealed latrines, repairing roofs and fences and setting up a rainwater harvesting tank for drinking water.When Cyclone Aila hit in May 2009, 19 families along with their children, livestock and assets were able to take refuge in the school.
“The school saved us and our children from Aila, because there is no cyclone shelter near our village,” said a community leader.
Caritas Bangladesh built the school in 2002. As well as providing a rounded education, the teachers include climate change issues in the syllabus. The community has named it ‘Environment School’.