Bangladesh is among the most disaster-prone countries of the world, with floods, cyclones and tidal waves regularly bringing death and destruction. An innovative project supported by the Bangladesh Freedom Foundation aims to explore the use of local knowledge and experience in strengthening disaster preparedness and local capacity to cope.
The project will be implemented by the Disaster Research, Training and Management Centre of the University of Dhaka. It will focus on the coastal areas of the country, which have always been vulnerable to disasters, especially cyclones and tidal waves.
Local people in these areas have naturally developed their own ways of coping, both in terms of preparedness and in terms of rehabilitation and resumption of their normal way of life afterwards. At the same time, disaster response measures by government and NGOs, both local and international, have in recent years been noticeably effective in reducing loss of lives and property. However, they are usually heavily relief-oriented, and often detached from local ‘best practices’.
This project aims to increase the effectiveness of disaster response in Bangladesh by integrating these two approaches, linking national disaster response efforts with local knowledge and techniques. It will prepare a research-based training manual, disseminate local knowledge through training programmes, seminars, etc, and explore the possibility of incorporating this knowledge into local school curricula in the coastal belt.