DHAKA, January 26, 2014 – The Government of Bangladesh today signed a $375 million financing agreement with the International Development Association (IDA) for the Multipurpose Disaster Shelter Project. IDA is the World Bank’s concessional arm that helps the world’s poorest countries.
The Multipurpose Disaster Shelter Project will construct 552 new multipurpose disaster shelters, improve 450 existing shelters, and build connecting roads and communication networks in 9 coastal districts. The project will benefit 14 million coastal populations living in the front line of climate change. The project will introduce steel shelter designs for the first time in Bangladesh for improved construction quality and durability.
“Its geographical location makes Bangladesh prone to floods and cyclones, and climate change could increase the frequency and intensity of these extreme-weather events,” said Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “The project will build and upgrade shelters to reduce the vulnerability of people living in coastal areas and help Bangladesh build a long term disaster resiliency.”
The shelters are designed such that they would serve as primary schools during the year, and provide safe haven to local community during natural disasters. The shelters will be able to protect people from high wind speeds and storm surges. The shelters will be equipped with water supply systems and separate sanitation facilities for men and women. They will also have space for animals and livestock.
“Over the last decades, Bangladesh successfully created a growing network of cyclone shelters and the community-based early warning system that saved lives and assets during natural disasters,” said Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division, government of Bangladesh. “The Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) calls for the repair and construction of additional shelters in the coastal zones as a priority intervention. The project will help Bangladesh to improve disaster preparedness and risk reduction.”
The project will build and improve multipurpose disaster shelters in nine coastal districts, which are identified as high priority locations in a recent assessment by the Government. These districts are: Barisal, Bhola, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazaar, Feni, Lakhshmipur, Noakhali, Pirojpur, and Patuakhali.
The agreement was signed by Mohammad Mejbahuddin and Johannes Zutt, on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank respectively at the Economic Relations Division.
The credit from IDA has a 38 year term, including a 6 year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.