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Seeking shelter: The factors that influence refuge since Cyclone Gorky in the Coastal Area of Bangladesh

Progress In Disaster Science Volume 11, October 2021, Article 100179

Considering damage and loss of lives, cyclones are the most severe natural disaster in Bangladesh. One of the most important cyclone mitigation measures is to temporarily evacuate the vulnerable population on receipt of warning and look after them by arranging shelters with adequate facilities. To ensure effective and efficient evacuation, it is important to better understand people’s protective actions and hazard decision making. This paper provides an assessment of the factors associated with evacuation to cyclone shelters in coastal areas in Bangladesh over the past 30 years.Show more…
It is based on the comparative study of Cyclone Amphan (2020) and three major historical cyclones: Gorky (1991), Sidr (2007) and Aila (2009). Primary data sources included surveys, focus group discussions, key informant interviews and formal and informal conversations; and secondary data sources included reports, policies and design documents. 210 participants from seven coastal districts severely affected by Cyclone Amphan are selected for the study. While substantial improvements in the disaster response infrastructure were made in the last three decades, shelter evacuation rates are still low. It was found that the majority of people are still taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach mainly due to the fear of losing property. It was found that partial evacuation, observing environmental cues prior to evacuation and seeking refuge in neighbours’ houses, is indirectly associated with the fear of losing property. There is also inadequate spatial distribution of cyclone shelters with minimal facilities. This study provides recommendations to intensify risk-based planning for cyclone shelters and gender-responsive efforts to ensure a safe environment for the community to seek refuge at shelters with proper planning at the community level.
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Categories: Climate + Hazard Resilience
Tags: 2021
Author: Fakhruddin Bapon, Hadi Tahmina, Islam Md Sirajul, Richter Denise