Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Project:
The purpose of this project is to strengthen the capacity of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and coastal communities to be more effectively prepared for and be able to respond to disasters, and to reduce related deaths, injuries, as well as have coping and mitigation strategies to lessen the adverse socioeconomic impacts of disasters.
The project has three major focus areas. First, it aims to modernize the Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP), a national and early warning system run jointly by the Government of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society that is credited with saving many lives but now relies on old technology and equipment.
Secondly, the project will help build the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society’s capacity at the branch and national levels by providing tools, knowledge, and systems to facilitate more decentralized, efficient responses while increasing financial self-sufficiency. Finally, the project also aims to enhance community disaster preparedness by sustaining and expanding initiatives focused on organizing, connecting, and building the capacity of community members, raising awareness and implementing school-based disaster risk reduction activities.
American Red Cross believes that greater investments in national society and community capacities in Bangladesh, as well as existing network systems and infrastructure, will contribute to sustainability in preparing for and responding to disasters for years to come.
Enhancing Institutional and Community Preparedness and Readiness in Coastal Bangladesh
Based on the coastal risk assessments, BDRCS Strategic Plan for 2017-2020 and specific requests made by BDRCS to support coastal disaster preparedness and readiness, American Red Cross developed the Project for Enhancing Institutional and Community Preparedness and Readiness in Coastal Bangladesh. Project development was done from June 2016 to April 2017.
This project utilizes a top-down and bottom-up approach in improving disaster preparedness and response; while community-level activities are vital in increasing disaster readiness, they can only be effective if there are essential disaster preparedness mechanisms and infrastructure in place.
The goal of this project is to strengthen the capacity of the BDRCS and coastal communities to more effectively prepare for and respond to disasters and to reduce related deaths, injuries, and adverse socioeconomic impacts.
Project Objectives and Activities
There are three major focus areas for the project. First, the project aims to modernize the national Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP), an early warning system that is credited with saving many lives but now relies on outdated technology and equipment. In addition, the project will help build BDRCS capacity at the branch and national levels by providing tools, knowledge, and systems to facilitate more decentralized, efficient responses while increasing financial self-sufficiency. Finally, the project aims to enhance community disaster preparedness by sustaining and expanding initiatives focused on organizing, connecting, and building the capacity of community members, raising awareness through existing community radio programs, and implementing school-based disaster risk reduction activities.
Enhancing Cyclone Preparedness Program and Early Warning Systems
As per the request of BDRCS and as identified in the Strategic Plan of 2017-2020, the project will implement activities that will contribute to the modernization of CPP through: 1) strengthening mechanisms for real-time information-sharing between the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) and the CPP, 2) piloting a new early warning system in select areas, 3) updating and maintaining existing CPP equipment and radio communication systems, and 4) strengthening capacity and motivation of CPP staff and community volunteers.
Institutional Capacity Building
Institutional capacity building activities will strengthen BDRCS’s organizational capacity at the branch and national levels by providing tools, knowledge, and systems for increased decentralized and digitized response, in line with global standards and best practices. This will be done through: 1) development of response tools for BDRCS at the national level and decentralization of those to branches, 2) providing trainings to branch staff and disaster response team members, 3) formalizing cash-based response systems at national and branch levels, 4) increasing branch level capacity in selected branches through trainings, support to development of Plans of Action and business plans. Additionally, activities will address weaknesses outlined in the BOCA, which includes enhancing branch financial self-sufficiency, improving infrastructure, and increasing stakeholder access to information.
Community-Level Disaster Readiness
These activities will be implemented in eight coastal communities within two districts. The selection of the districts and communities will be conducted following an assessment based on agreed vulnerability criteria. Activities implemented will include: 1) organizing communities and connecting them with different stakeholders, 2) forming Community Disaster Management Committees (CDMC), 3) conducting risk assessments and preparing community action plans, 4) developing disaster preparedness plans for community, schools and households, 5) conducting community and school evacuation drills, 6) incorporating improvements to evacuation routes, evacuation shelter facilities and schools.
Overview of Target Area
The project will be implemented at Dhaka headquarters of BDRCS and CPP, and eight communities in two of the most vulnerable coastal districts (out of 13 coastal districts). This assessment was conducted for selecting two pilot districts for project implementation. The assessment considered vulnerability of districts based on existing stakeholder support, opportunities for collaboration with ongoing projects, cyclone risk, storm-surge impacts in low-lying areas, capacity of implementing partners, and resource and training gaps.