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    PM Hasina’s Disaster Resilient Housing Project Stands Out, Even as Cyclone Sitrang Leaves 25 Dead

    CountriesBangladeshPM Hasina’s Disaster Resilient Housing Project Stands Out, Even...
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    PM Hasina’s Disaster Resilient Housing Project Stands Out, Even as Cyclone Sitrang Leaves 25 Dead

    There has been no information about any damage so far to any house constructed as part of the Ashrayan project, as the houses were built to be disaster resilient.

    Life limped back to normalcy in Bangladesh and the country made a valiant attempt to emerge from the impact of a cyclone, reopening ports and airports, even though the cyclone left behind a trail of destruction and deaths.

    At least 25 people died in the aftermath of the cyclone. The deaths were reported from nine districts across the country as Cyclone Sitrang made landfall and crossed the Barishal-Chittagong coast early hours Monday.

    Workers were lost after a sand-lifting dredger sank in the Bay of Bengal. Most other deaths were caused by fallen trees, and the fallen foliage also obstructed relief work. Bangladesh experienced moderate to heavy rains throughout the day.

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    More than 10,000 houses, 6,000 hectares of cropland, and 1,000 fishing enclosures were damaged when Cyclone Sitrang hit Bangladesh on Monday night and early morning on Tuesday, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md. Enamur Rahman told mediapersons. Power supply was disrupted affecting over 80 lakh people.

    The government evacuated close to 1 million people from the 15 coastal districts over two days in preparation for the advancing cyclone. Most people returned to their homes by Tuesday evening.

    Housing for risk reduction

    Interestingly, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s flagship housing programme – the provision of disaster-resilient housing to the poor as part the Ashrayan project – saved nearly four lakh people of the 19 coastal districts as cyclone ‘Sitrang’ hit on Monday.

    There has been no information about any damage so far to any house constructed as part of the Ashrayan project, as the houses were built to be disaster resilient.

    The four lakh people did not have to go to cyclone shelters as they stayed safely in their homes. A total of 61,378 landless-homeless families were given disaster-resilient houses in 19 coastal districts in the last two years.

    Officials spoke of the considerably reduced disaster risk of the beneficiaries of the housing project and also the safety of livestock during the calamity.

    About 220,000 people and over 45,000 cattle have taken shelter in shelter centres in 19 coastal districts to escape the ravages of cyclone Sitrang. A total of 7,490 shelter centres have a capacity of 42,74,000.

    The cyclone has also vindicated the stand of planners who were advocating for more durable housing under the Ashrayan project with additional RCC pillars, grade vim and linkers.

    Project Ashrayan goes back to 1997, when the government under Sheikh Hasina undertook the project to rehabilitate landless, homeless and people who were displaced due to cyclones, floods and river erosion.

    Between 1997 and March 2022, a total of 507,244 identified families have received the housing. Beneficiaries include small ethnic minorities, transgenders or hijras, and other socially backward groups.

    Image: PMO Bangladesh

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