PREPARING FOR DISASTERS
Knowing what course of action to take when disaster strikes
Our approach to preparing for natural disasters
Together with the community, Friendship helps develop emergency plans to advise costal and char dwellers how best to proceed before, during and after a natural disaster. We ensure people are as prepared as they can be to minimise the impact of disasters as well as deal with the consequences. We establish Disaster Management Committees whose goal is to bring the community together creating a forum in which they can share their experiences, assess risks, identify needs and develop practical solutions using local knowledge and Friendship’s resources.
Once the emergency plan is developed, we ensure the community is aware of the security measures necessary to mitigate the effects of a disaster and help save lives and livelihoods. We educate children at a young age about the causes and consequences of natural disasters: when and where they occur, their impact and what safety measures to take. We also train teachers and parents so that they too are aware of safety measures and can ensure children continue their schooling when disaster strikes.
We help build infrastructures in remote areas to enable vulnerable communities to prepare for natural disasters. Some of our projects include building cyclone shelters, plinths and water treatment plants to ensure people’s safety.
How Friendship helps the community prepare
Building cyclone shelters
We are in the process of building a cyclone shelter in Southern Bangladesh. This shelter will protect people and their livestock when a cyclone strikes. It is also designed to function as a primary school and clinic all year round.
We build raised plinths to safely house a community during flooding. They also accommodate displaced people from surrounding areas whose houses have been washed away by flooding.
Emergency Action Plan
Creating a clear action plan is key to ensuring that people know what to do and where to go during a natural disaster. Together with the community we assess potential risks and prepare a risk reduction action plan for implementation during natural disaster to mitigate their impact.
We conduct mock drills to teach local communities how to react during disasters, how to recognise warning signs and to practice people’s roles during and after disasters.
Water Treatment Plants
The coastal communities of Bangladesh are always in dire shortage of safe drinking water due to the extreme salinity in ground water. We have installed water treatment plants to make safe drinking water available at an affordable price for the most underprivileged segments of the population.
Financial savings plans
We encourage char dwellers to create a savings plan giving them access to funds after a natural disaster. These funds are then readily available to help them get back on their feet enabling them to promptly resume their activity and generate an income for themselves.
How we have made a difference
Children continue to attend school
When disasters strike, children in coastal and char communities find it difficult to continue attending school. Friendship works to rebuild the infrastructure and arrange transport by special boats, so that children can return to school quickly.
Farmers can buy seeds thanks to the savings plans
After disaster strikes, farmers promptly need to buy quality seeds to replace the crops they lost and rebuild their livelihoods. Without the appropriate funding they are often left entirely helpless. We have improved their access to financial services and encouraged them to create savings plans.
Attending to the needs of the most vulnerable
The elderly, infirm and children are particularly vulnerable during natural disasters. We provide training to specific communities members who are then responsible for ensuring these vulnerable coastal and Char dwellers are looked after as a priority and brought to the appropriate shelters when disaster strikes.