Should disaster management strategies in Bangladesh be just about constructing new shelters?

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Mahmood, MN, Dhakal, SP & Kamruzzaman, M 2013, 'Should disaster management strategies in Bangladesh be just about constructing new shelters?',in S Kajewski, K Manley & K Hampson (eds), Proceedings of the 19th CIB World Building Congress, Brisbane 2013: Construction and society, Brisbane, Qld., 5-9 May, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld. ISBN: 9780987554208


With a population of over 143 million people and a population density of more than 1,200 persons per km2 Bangladesh is a very densely populated country. The country’s geographic location in the waters of Bay of Bengal, often the source of tropical cyclones and storm surges, makes Bangladesh one of the most natural disasters prone nations in the world. A severe tropical cyclone hits the country, every 3 years on average. As 16 major cyclones have hit the country since 1960 with the loss of nearly 500,000 lives, multi-purpose cyclone shelters – that can provide refuge to susceptible population in the events of natural hazards and to a certain extent with the utility of community functionalities during normal times – have become a vital component of disaster management strategies. Country has already constructed more than 2,500 such shelters across 16 of the most disaster prone coastal districts. This paper uses content analysis of disaster management policies, and programs in order to comprehend and assess the distributions of shelters with a lens of integrated strategic asset management framework. Analysis of secondary data indicates that existing cyclone shelters are not equitably distributed to cater the needs of the highly vulnerable population. In the backdrop of the recommendation of The World Bank [TWB] that the country needs 5,500 new shelters (TWB, 2010), this paper contends that future construction of cyclone shelters must be need as well as evidence-based in order to ensure that highly vulnerable population benefits from cyclone shelters the most.