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Mini-Cyclone Shelter for Vulnerable Communities.
Bhola, Bangladesh
image: BRAC | © all rights reserved
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Location:
Bhola, Bangladesh
Category:
housing
Phase:
in use
Updated:
3 January 2023
This climate resilient house (CRH) is a participatory designed house for vulnerable populations to respond to climate-induced extreme events and long-term changes resulting from climate change.
Each CRH is used as a community mini-cyclone shelter with WASH facilities for 05 to 10 families, protecting 35 to 40 people and livestock during extreme climatic events and demonstrate value for money and round the year usage of the building.
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Introduction
Bangladesh is one of the most suffered poster children of human induced climate changes with frequent recurring of extreme disasters. The coastal and riverine communities are the most vulnerable ones due to their frequent exposure to different natural calamities. Considering the physical damage and loss of lives, cyclones are the most powerful natural disaster in Bangladesh. Developing countries like Bangladesh, solely rely on cyclone shelters to evacuate the vulnerable population. While building cyclone shelters, the common practice is to construct Multi-Purpose Cyclone Shelter Project at the cyclone risk areas. The numbers of these multi-purpose shelters are overwhelming, but has limited maintenance funds as well not properly distributed along the coastal belt depending on population density. A case study on the evacuation behavior of 2007 Cyclone Sidr shows that the shelters which were in a relatively proper condition could accommodate only 15% of the coastal population. Moreover, the construction of these shelters cost a huge sum of money. Research shows that most people in Bangladesh do not go to shelters due to the distance of the shelter and poor road condition. Other factors that affect their evacuation in cyclone shelters include inadequate shelters in the affected areas, no killa (animal shelter), invasion of privacy, gender-sensitive issues (i.e., hygiene, etc.), locational barrier etc. In fact, they prefer neighbor’s house to take shelter if possible. 
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Impact
BRAC, under its Climate Change Programme, has facilitated the communities to build over 35 climate resilient houses in four coastal districts including Patuakhali, Bhola, Borguna and Satkhira. These houses have been designed and constructed through a participatory approach so that a sense of home can be developed. The houses are two-storied, with 652 sq ft floor area on each level and the approximate cost of this house is around 6.5 lakh. There are two rooms on the top floor with a balcony in the front. The ground floor, a relatively open space, is mainly for cattle and poultry, but it also houses a toilet, and a 1,000-litre water tank. The tank gets filled with rainwater that is harvested through the roof of the house. These houses are built for one family; but during cyclones, 60 people - relatives and neighbors - can take shelter in them. The fact that people do not have to travel kilometers through earthbound and undulating roads amidst of cyclones and storm surge and the sense of safety, security and comfort make these houses special from other shelter projects. These houses help the communities to build social capital by sharing the safe houses in disaster and community purposes. So Mini-Cyclone Shelter not only ensures the climate and disaster resilience but also promotes social resilience to tackle the vulnerabilities. 
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Core team
To initiate this process of making climate-resilient house, a number of consultation meeting was held with community, local government, community architect and other experts from BRAC-Climate Change Programme. Firstly, a discussion with community including women, children and people with disability was conducted to understand their climate vulnerabilities and identify them accordingly. Then they listed out the issues associated with their safe living and home. Their adaptation strategies have also got priority to understand their potential solution considering the usual disasters and vulnerabilities. Finally, they were requested to illustrate their very own ideas about safe shelter according to the affordability. Even the idea of sharing one single house in crisis came from their proposals. In addition, they managed to bring people from their community who were involved in the construction field as a mason. So the process let the whole community to be a part and lead it. In the construction phase women also got involved to save the labour cost. This gender-sensitive process was not only focused on the climate vulnerabilities but also a recognition to women who usually were the care-giver to families and communities in disaster. A women-led monitoring group was also created to follow up the whole process to make it more efficient and make sure the access to use that shelter in need. Besides, that group has been working to raise fund so that they can contribute to build more Mini-Cyclone Shelter in the disastrous neighborhood to make their whole community resilient.
Community Consultation

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Image gallery
One of the Climate resilient houses

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Context

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Climate Resilient House

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Previous condition of house

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Previous situation

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Technical drawings
Floor Plan

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Floor PLan

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Floor PLan Detail

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Floor Plan Detail

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Section

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Elevation

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Elevation

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Floor Plan with RAMP

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Roof Plan

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3D views

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Perspective

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3D view

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Where are we now
Through the project in several locations, a women-led group has been created and mobilized in each of those communities. Now they can develop their action plan and identify climate risks accordingly. Besides, the social relationships have been enriched through the structure and process. As BRAC-Climate Change Programme with its team consisting of community architect, engineers and socialist have been facilitating those communities, technical support is always available in this regard. Labor is also now available and being trained in those areas.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
20% funding already raised
80% expertise already found
10% materials / equipment already found
90% builders already found
Finance: € 6,000
As building Mini-Cyclone Shelter is the pilot initiative of making climate vulnerable communities resilient, each community needs more such structure to achieve the goal. It will not only lessen the climate risks on lives and asset but also contribute to access safe and clean drinking water and appropriate sanitation. Besides, increasing the house number will ensure the source for food security on roof top during the flood for the whole community. The roof also can be used a zone for rain water harvesting. Moreover, living condition of the remote disaster vulnerable areas can be safe.
  • Building materials and Labor cost
6,000
Skills: Design, Technique
The communities are badly in need of funding to build their own climate resilient houses. Tough they have been maintaining saving groups, the amount is negligible. Besides, they also need innovative design support from experts worlwide to include new technologies. The community-based initiative is higly appreciated in the local level, now national and international platform of knowledge can be generated to share the experiences and stories.
Hands
This initiave has a vision to empower women through bringing resilience. To spread the good will of this process and project, the students of different level of studies can be a part of it and provide voluntary support to create awareness according to their knowledge and capacity. Academitian from diverese architecture and civil department can also be a part of the integrated design process.
Help bring our project to life!
Location
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