Bangladesh’s coastal areas have long been plagued by natural disasters. On May 4, 2019, cyclone Fani hit the coastal areas of Bangladesh. Despite the looming natural disaster, 600 trained Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) volunteers, trained by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under ‘Integrating Community-based Adaptation into Afforestation and Reforestation (ICBAAR) programme,’ played an active role in spreading awareness and helping locals to minimise the loss and damage.
The volunteers had received basic climate change adaptation and emergency response training with modern equipment from the project . They disseminated cyclone signals and messages that helped people get to shelters in time.
UNDP-ICBAAR developed manuals and guidelines with updated disaster preparedness messages and information on climate change, and trained a number of CPP volunteers with modern communication equipment. The project also worked with local government and Upazila Disaster Management Committees to raise awareness, and rescue the people (including 10,500 beneficiaries) of five coastal districts, Patuakhali, Barguna, Bhola, Pirojpur and Noakhali.
Shahidul Islam, a CPP volunteer who received training as part of UNDP-ICBAAR, said, “In the past, cyclones brought unimaginable devastation and destruction in people’s lives, but today disaster management is being done in a better way. We have received proper training and equipment to help people and minimise risks.”
CPP’s Assistant Director Hasanul Amin said, “The trained personnel played an important role in protecting coastal people. The training they received proved very useful.”
The Cyclone Preparedness Programme is an initiative of the government’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief. UNDP-ICBAAR partnered with this initiative to build capacity, provide disaster preparedness training and spread awareness.