A move is underway to build some 550 cyclone shelters to help save the lives of the people of nine coastal districts and their property from natural disasters.
The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) under the Ministry of LGRD has initiated the move to undertake a project titled ‘Multipurpose Cyclone Shelters (2nd Phase)’, which is now at the Planning Commission for its consideration.
A meeting of the pre-evaluation committee (PEC) on the proposed project was held on October 19, 2014 with Planning Commission member of the Agriculture, Water Resource and Rural Institution Division Mohammad Shofiqul Azam in the chair. At the meeting, the Planning Commission made some recommendations to fine tune the project.
A Planning Commission official said the proposed cost of the project is Tk2,909.39 crore of which Tk13.28 crore will come from the national exchequer while the rest, Tk2,896.11 crore, is expected to come from the World Bank as project assistance, reports UNB.
Some 74 upazilas of nine coastal districts have been selected as the project areas likely to be implemented from January 2015 to December 2021.
The proposed districts to be covered under the project are Barisal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Feni, Lakshmipur and Noakhali.
The official said the project also aims to create opportunities for operating primary and other educational activities at the cyclone shelters alongside creating short-term employment scope and operating other social and government programmes like EPI as well as creating facilities for the coastal community through NGO training.
Apart from the construction of the 550 new cyclone shelters, the official said that under the project, there will be development of the existing 450 cyclone shelters, construction or reconstruction of some 550 km cyclone shelters connecting roads alongside the construction or reconstruction of some 500 metre bridges and culverts on the connecting roads to the cyclone shelters.
Planning Commission member of Agriculture, Water Resource and Rural Institution Division Mohammad Shofiqul Azam said that during the PEC meeting, various aspects of the proposed project were discussed with some recommendations and observations.
He said the DPP of the project were also sent to Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal for his consideration.
Another official at the LGRD Ministry said the people living in the country’s some 8,900-sqkm coastal area are highly vulnerable to natural calamities like flood and cyclone.
In a span of 200 years, 70 cyclones hit the coastal belt of the country claiming many lives and damaging property, shelters, domestic animals and coastal infrastructures.
Even, the cyclone ‘Sidr’ in 2007 followed by ‘Aila’ in 2009 ravaged the coastal belt that underscores the need for improving the cyclone shelters to reduce the loss of lives and property in case of natural disasters.
Under the circumstances, the LGRD Ministry moved the Development Project Proforma (DPP) to the Planning Commission for its consideration to help protect the people of the coastal districts from possible flood, cyclone and other natural disasters.