Built back better - from flood affected to flood resilient
05 Sep 2017 by Cathrine Haarsaker, UNDP Bangladesh, Early Recovery Facility and Montasir Rahman, UNDP Bangladesh, Early Recovery Facility
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.
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.