Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cyclone Sidr Rehabilitation Project - Mirzaganj

In November 2007, Cyclone Sidr struck Bangladesh, the worse storm since 1991. Thousands were killed, but evacuation and preparedness plans prevented worse damage and destruction.

HFH Bangladesh is the implementing partner in a project to assist and construct 280 transitional shelters for affected families in Mirjaganj and Barisal, as well as providing disaster mitigation training to the families and community.

The project is jointly funded by Christine Aid Ministries (CAM), HFH Netherlands, Chevron Bangladesh and many other individual donors of HFHI Bangladesh.

The project started in March 2008 and will be completed in September. As of June 2008, 154 shelters have been completed.

Each core house is about 6 meters by 4 meters in size.

A Mobile Habitat Resource Center and a production center at Shubidkahli Union at Mirjagong Upazilla in Patuakhali District is the core of the program. Building is being implemented through work teams, staff and CAM volunteers. Families are being assisted also to reuse old housing materials.

A fundraising campaign is in progress with Unicef Bangladesh, HFH UK and CAM for water and sanitation support to existing beneficiaries; disaster mitigation and other trainings. Future plans would include building more homes if funding is available and following up to introduce regular programs (Save and Build) and provide permanent structures to the rebuilt shelters.

CAM volunteers, approximately 15 people in a team are coming in every two weeks and heading towards Mirjaganj to help erect the core shelters. The volunteers are accepted by the local community and a positive impact is created. Aside from putting up the core shelters the volunteers take time to engage themselves with the local community especially with children and the sick during their free time.

On June 22 Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford visited the project in Mirjaganj as part of his South Asian Tour and officially dedicated the first house along with the CAM Project Coordinator Arnold Eby.

The visitors witnessed the joy of tears in the eyes of homeowner Abdul Bari and his wife Samsun Nahar. Jonathan Reckford took time in listening the couple their memory of the night when SIDR struck. They described the trembling story how they fled home with their new born grand daughter in the destruction of SIDR.


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