Built back better - from flood affected to flood resilient

by and

Woman working on dry ground on Char MontolaWoman working on dry ground on Char Montola


Kurigram, Bangladesh — On a small river island in northern Bangladesh, a women sits outside her home, working on a traditional embroidered quilt. Next door, her neighbor is tending to her vegetable patch. The landscape around them is flooded, but their houses and homesteads stand dry.

We are on Char Montola, a river island in Kurigram district in the north of Bangladesh. In the middle of 2017, at a time when many of the river islands, flood plain areas or even higher grounds in the Brahmaputra river basin are inundated, Montola is one of the few standing one foot above the flood water level.

The raising of Char Montola was made possible by the UKAid (funded through the Department for International Development DFID) response to the 2015 floods in North-West Bangladesh. With the support of UKAid through a joint UN programme, UNDP’s Early Recovery project implemented a ‘cash for work’ scheme and gave shelter reconstruction support in a total of four sub-districts of Kurigram and neighbouring Gaibandha.

Woman tending to vegetables on Char MontolaWoman tending to vegetables on Char Montola


This support not only employed and secured one month’s income for 11,000 affected people in the aftermath of the 2015 flood, but also strengthened the lasting resilience of 2,250 families in their communities by raising the plinths of their houses and settlements. At a time when at least 39% of Kurigram’s population has been affected by floods and many must resort to sheltering on bridges, embankments and roads, this community is not only safe – but even sheltering several displaced families.

Early recovery is a key component of humanitarian crisis or post-disaster response. Early, resilient recovery ensures that opportunities to reduce long-term risk and vulnerability disaster response are seized. It is an integrated, inclusive and coordinated approach to gradually turn the dividends of humanitarian action into sustainable recovery, resilience building and development opportunities.

Displaced woman sheltering in house on Char Montola - housing materials, possibly rescuedDisplaced woman sheltering in house on Char Montola - housing materials, possibly rescued


UNDP is the lead agency for Early Recovery in humanitarian action, both globally and in Bangladesh. The Early Recovery Facility of UNP Bangladesh supports capacity building, innovation, and response to close the gap between the relief phase and long-term recovery.

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