• Bangladesh Red Crescent responders on motorcycle with megaphone

Helping in Bangladesh

Disaster Preparedness for Safer Schools in Bangladesh

When a disaster or local hazard strikes, children are predominantly the most vulnerable population group. Children enrolled in schools are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of disasters for a number of reasons including structural instability of school buildings. This project aims to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and social impact caused by disasters in public schools by building safer, more resilient schools. The project will provide training in first aid and light search and rescue, and work with communities to conduct assessments of their vulnerabilities, develop disaster preparedness plans, support small-scale mitigation projects in schools, and support community disaster preparedness awareness-raising. The project will be implemented in 50 schools in Dhaka and Rangpur and is expected to directly reach 20,000 students, teachers, and community members.

Enhancement of the Cyclone Preparedness Program, Phase II

Bangladesh is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. After the devastating cyclone of 1970, the Cyclone Preparedness Program was created as an early warning system, managed jointly by the Government of Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Red Crescent. The Cyclone Preparedness Program relies on tens of thousands of volunteers living in the coastal areas to work in organized teams to warn their neighbors about coming cyclones. While this program has been seen as a model for community-based warning systems, over the decades funding lagged and less attention was paid to upkeep of the hardware necessary to operate the early warning system. Through the Cyclone Preparedness Program Enhancement Project, the American Red Cross is working with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Bangladesh Red Crescent to provide volunteers with warning equipment (e.g., megaphones); improve dissemination of early warning messages through radio networks; revitalize volunteerism; and strengthen the relationship between the Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Red Crescent and communities. This project will serve more than 5,500 volunteers, staff, VHF operators, and community leaders in 11 coastal districts. In addition, approximately 7.11 million people living in 8,500 vulnerable coastal communities will also benefit indirectly from the program.

Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response

In partnership with the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center, the American Red Cross has been working since mid-2009 to address disaster vulnerability in South and Southeast Asia through a strategic regional risk reduction program, the Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER). Through this regional disaster preparedness initiative, the American Red Cross is assisting Red Cross and Red Crescent national partners and other organizations in nine countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam) to help improve disaster preparedness. This work includes building community-level first responder capacity (including the capacity of the local Red Cross and Red Crescent societies) in disaster-prone communities by sharing essential disaster response skills, such as how to safely conduct light search and rescue activities and effectively triage wounded survivors of disasters or other local crises. At the same time, the project works to make community-based decision-making a key part of emergency response systems, ensuring that first responders and authorities are directly linked to community preparedness plans, enabling better-coordinated disaster responses. This program is partially funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) with supplemental funding from the American Red Cross. This project aims to train approximately 5,000 first responders who will be in a position to support millions of vulnerable people living across the nine countries encompassed in this program.