Approach of IRW-B towards urban safety


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Approach of IRW-B towards urban safety

  1. 1. Collective Actions for Resilient Urban Areas Islamic Relief Worldwide - Bangladesh House No: 10, Road No: 10, Block-K, Baridhara, Dhaka-1212 Web:
  2. 2. April 2012Documentation and CompilationM. Mizanur RahmanProgramme Officer (Monitoring, Evaluation and Research)Islamic Relief Worldwide-BangladeshMohammad Simon RahmanProgramme Officer (Media, Communication and Advocacy)Islamic Relief Worldwide-BangladeshResearch AssociateTania Sufi and Nushrat Rahman ChowdhuryInternIslamic Relief Worldwide-BangladeshConcept, Supervision and CoordinationSyed Shahnawaz AliProgramme ManagerIslamic Relief Worldwide-BangladeshJaved AmeerHead of ProgrammesIslamic Relief Worldwide-BangladeshPhotoShumon Ahmed & IRW-B Sylhet TeamContactIslamic Relief Worldwide - BangladeshHouse No: 10, Road No: 10, Block-K, Baridhara,Dhaka-1212Web: www.islamicrelief.comThis document has been prepared under the 6th DIPECHO Action Plan for South Asia implemented byIslamic Relief Worldwide-Bangladesh working under the NARRI consortium. Islamic Relief Worldwide-Bangladesh preserves the copyright of this but it can be quoted or printed with proper acknowledgement. Ithas been produced with financial assistance from European Commission Humanitarian Aid and CivilProtection (ECHO). The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the officialopinion of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).1|Page
  3. 3. Contents1. Introduction ................................................................................................................. 32. Intrinsic Risks, Immediate Measures .......................................................................... 43. Major Urban Hazards in Bangladesh .......................................................................... 44. Urban Characteristics Making DRR Difficult ............................................................. 65. Exploring Community Strengths in Reducing Risks .................................................. 86. Need for Comprehensive Approach with Mass Awareness ........................................ 97. Urban Safety Interventions of IRW in Sylhet ........................................................... 108. IRW‟s Community Based Approach for Urban Safety ............................................. 119. Roles of Different Community Groups in Sylhet:..................................................... 1210. Linkage and Coordination among Various Groups:.................................................. 1611. Major Activities Promoting Urban Safety................................................................. 1712. Conclusion: ................................................................................................................ 19Annexure-01: .................................................................................................................... 202|Page
  4. 4. Collective Actions for Resilient Urban Areas1. IntroductionUrbanization is believed to be both – a cause and effect of economic growth, employmentgeneration and overall development of any country. It is here to stay. The present paperdoes not get into the merits or demerits of the phenomenon but, assuming it is here tostay, looks at the various aspects of how do we build a disaster preparedness into it for anoverall risk reduction in urban areas. In 1981, Amartya Sen described cities as places ofrefuge from famine where food stores, economic opportunity and political accountabilityprovided a buffer from environmental change. Expansion of urban population and urbanconstruction have been so alarming that urban safety has become a crucial issue now-a-days, especially in developing countries like Bangladesh where rate of population growth(particularly in urban areas) is high, huge amount of money is being invested in planningand development of infrastructure, however the route taken for greater urbanization hasbeen contentious and arguments can be proffered for and against it. The urban areas ofdeveloping countries have 80 per cent of world‟s urban population and in the Asiancontext, around 40 per cent of the total population lives in the urban areas. For betterincome opportunity, after-effects of disasters in the rural area, better education and healthfacilities and so many other factors attract people to the cities. With this pace ofincreasing population, urban vulnerabilities are also increasing rapidly.Reducing the urban risk which is never a one sided approach, has come centre stage ofdevelopment in many developing countries including Bangladesh. The HyogoFramework for Action 2005-2015 considers that both communities and local authoritiesshould be empowered to manage and reduce disaster risk by having access to thenecessary information, resources and authority to implement action. The challenge ofinvolving local authority in Bangladesh is different regarding urban risk though it isconsidered as one of the global leaders in disaster management and risk reduction. Localauthorities have been administering cyclone, flood, and river erosion for years but havelittle experience to handle earthquake, fire, water logging since these are comparativelynew hazard. Reducing and managing urban risk is rarified further due to other factors likevery few capacity building initiatives, disintegrated policies, long-drawn-out decision-making process and financial constraint. Most of the community people of urban areasare also not familiar with urban risk. Especially the newly migrated people do not realizetheir own vulnerability. A holistic approach involving both the local authority and thecommunity people is needed to make linkage and carry on outgrowth. Considering thaturban risk reduction has to take a comprehensive and collaborative approach, IslamicRelief Worldwide (IRW-B) has come up with an approach where the communities havebeen empowered with a very good knowledge level on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR),skill of response in case of emergency, and coordination with different relevant bodies toassess and minimize their risks.3|Page
  5. 5. 2. Intrinsic Risks, Immediate MeasuresAccording to the Global ClimateRisk Index 2010, an average of8,241 people died each year in244 cases of extreme weatherconditions in Bangladesh, withthe damage amounting to over $2billion a year and a GDP loss of1.81%, during 1990-2008 (TheDaily Star, October 7). Day byday, disasters are going to be themain agents of human crises andalso threat to economyworldwide. In 2010 only, 385 natural disasters killed more than 297,000 peopleworldwide, affected over 217 million others and caused $123.9 billion damages. 131countries were hit by these natural disasters, though only 10 accounted for 120 of the 385disasters (31.2%) (ADSR: 2010).In line with these, our vulnerability to different hazards is also increasing. Frequentearthquakes in India, China and Japan, flood in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India, drought inChina, series of storms in the Philippines have added a new dimension to thinking fordisaster risk reduction in the Asia-Pacific region (Rahman, 2011). Again, frequentearthquakes, tsunami and other urban hazards in this region have made Bangladeshconcentrate not only on the common rural hazards but also on the urban ones. Besidesthis, there are a number of reasons for which the country has now moved to focus onurban risk reduction in a comprehensive way.3. Major Urban Hazards in BangladeshBangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world due to its geologicallocation and being prone to major urban hazards that include earthquake, flood, tsunamiand fire etc. Many cities in Bangladesh are increasingly becoming the concentration of itsmajor functions with huge amount of physical, economic, social, political and culturalassets. These areas are characterized by high density of population, which results in higherexposures to risks. The combination of high vulnerability and exposure is posing higherdegree of risk in all these urban areas.4|Page
  6. 6. Among the urban hazards,earthquake, fire and water-loggingare more common when the first onecan have a macro-level impact andthe later two can be liable for theirmicro-level impact. The adjoiningfigure shows the earthquake zones ofBangladesh with Basic SeismicCoefficients.3.1 EarthquakeEarthquake is an everpresent dormantand absolutely unpredictable hazardthat can hit with destructive alacrity.There is no early warning and ithardly provides you with any time toprepare and respond immediately.Moreover, we are making ourselvesmore vulnerable to earthquakethrough our expanded and unplannedurbanisation despite being aware of its ferocity. (Rahman, 2012). Even though it maylasts only for couple of minutes, the damages it causes are huge.“According to a recent survey around 250,000 buildings in the three major cities ofBangladesh; Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet are extremely vulnerable to earthquakes.Some 142,000 among 180,000 buildings in Chittagong; 24,000 out of 52,000 in Sylhet;and 78,000 out of 326,000 buildings in Dhaka were detected as risky” (Source CDMPReport). Bangladesh has already experienced several small earthquakes in the recentyears. The frequencies are increasing every year, so the chance of facing a big earthquakeis very likely in the coming days. We can take the example of Dhaka, the capital of thecountry with more than ten million people where maximum of the buildings are located.This city is predicted to be badly affected if an earthquake of more than 7 magnitude hitsthe city. Table 1: List of Major Earthquakes Affecting Bangladesh Date Magnitude/ Damages during the earthquake scale 1918, 7.6 Srimangal Earthquake had epicenter at Srimangal, Maulvi 18 July Bazar (close to Sylhet). Intense damage occurred in Srimangal, but in Dhaka only minor effects were observed. 1930, 2 July 7.1 Dhubri Earthquake caused major damage in the eastern parts of Rangpur district. 1997, 6.0 It caused minor damage around Chittagong town. 225|Page
  7. 7. November 1999, 5.2 Severely felt around Maheshkhali island and the adjoining 22 July Sea. Houses cracked and in some cases collapsed. 2003, 5.1 Occurred at Kolabunia union of Barkal upazila, Rangamati 27 July district. 2011, 6.4 It shook a large part of the country. Epicenter was at India- February 4th Myanmar border region, 291km from Sylhet, 392km from port city Chittagong, and 453km from capital Dhaka. The ground shook for a "lengthy" period.3.2 FireFire is a frequently occurring hazard in the urban areas of the country due to anincreasing number of people getting involved in the economic, industrial and otheractivities. Big cities in Bangladesh including Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet are prone tothis hazard also because of rapid and unplanned urbanization and the absence of adequatesafety measures. The fast increasing population in combustible shanties furthercontributes to the increasing risk of fire. Best of intentions and emergency plans of theGovernment combined with a weak political will for disaster preparedness and lack ofresources further increases the risk of large-scale fires.Safety and Rights Society‟s annual study published in national and local dailynewspapers reported death of 383 workers in 270 workplace accidents in 2010 comparedwith 265 deaths in 227 workplaces the year before. Not only in the workplaces but alsothe urban slums have become crucial places where density of population is very high butsafety measure for fire is almost nil. So, with increasing urbanization, incidents of fireand risks of fire are increasing in the country.3.3 Urban floodingEven a mild rainfall (time and again) creates water logging and affects the life and worksof people in the cities. A lack of good and efficient drainage system results in rainwatersubmerging the roads in low lying areas. Unplanned urbanization and ever-increasingdemographic pressure on the cities are mainly responsible for this.4. Urban Characteristics Making DRR DifficultWorking in urban areas for Disaster Risk Reduction is not an easy task for a number ofcomplex and diverse factors of urban areas in Bangladesh. These major cities are fastbecoming the center of new vulnerabilities adding risks of earthquake, flood, fire, roadaccidents and health hazards. In case of Bangladesh, rapid urban growth has come withmany challenges to city authorities and other stakeholders. These underlying urban riskfactors have already made implementation of urban safety more critical than any otherbuilt environment.6|Page
  8. 8. Some of the common factors are summarized below:4.1 Ever increasing populationAbout 40% of Bangladeshis live in urban areas and the population growth in Bangladeshis happening at a very rapid pace reported to be 2.85 (Source World bank report 2010).By 2040, the total population of Bangladesh will hit 230 million mark, where 52% willlive in urban areas. It is projected that by 2020, population of Dhaka city alone will growto 20 million making it the world‟s third largest city. The density of Dhaka hasalarmingly reached to 27.700 people per square kilometer. According to BangladeshBureau of Statistics, annually 300,000 to 400,000 people, mostly from rural areascontinue to be added to the total population of Dhaka city. Natural disasters and lack ofincome opportunity in the rural areas contribute largely to increase in urban population.Lack of resources available in cities has forced majority of population to live in high riskmarginal and squatter settlements without access to basic services.4.2 Unplanned urbanisationRapid and unplanned urban growth in Bangladesh is feeding into the growth of slumswith low or no access to basic services ultimately reinforcing poverty. The urbanizationdoes not take into account any protection measures for population against any hazard ordisaster. The developers are cashing in on every bit of available vacant land for buildingnew high-rise buildings by subverting the urban planning systems and procedures. Theyare shortsighted and are only geared towards optimization of land which results speciallyin roads being kept very narrow in most parts of the cities. This has made it tougher forthe emergency responders to approach the affected areas in past few incidents of fireoutbreaks. In most part of the cities, old buildings and the weak infrastructure pose aconstant threat to human life in hazards such as fires, earthquakes and floods.4.3 Urban DRR – a conflicting priorityDiverse societal structure, opportunist political system, lack of administrative capacities,very poor resource generation capabilities, archaic urban planning and developmentlegislation etc. collectively contributes to making cities of Bangladesh more vulnerable todisaster risks. Appropriate governance and decision making system is the core of riskreduction in urban areas but this does not exist adequately in the present system. DRRinvariably takes the back seat to other needs which may be considered more pressing orpopulist for the politicians and easier to address by administrators, in the country.Lacking sound knowledge on preparedness contributes to unsound planning foremergency response and humanitarian assistance in times of disasters.4.4 Lack of knowledge and capacityUrban safety is a complicated issue. Accidents like a fire outbreak occurs more frequentlybut have had minimum impact on human life grossly as flood or cyclone do. Meanwhile,an earthquake might create a macro level impact, but such an earthquake would occur7|Page
  9. 9. very rarely. As a result, the urban population has not developed any coping mechanismagainst these hazards.The process of disaster risk reduction inclusive project planning and execution remains amajor weakness. Most of the administrators do not have any past experience of handlingurban hazards, particularly earthquake, to bank upon. There are also not many dedicatedprogrammes in urban areas of Bangladesh, and it will require sizeable time, investmentand political will to integrate disaster risk reduction within ongoing city operations andplanning.4.5 Human mobility and lack of cohesionWith an ever-fluid and migrant population comprising the urban masses with no fixedarea most of the times committing to and undertaking awareness raising initiativesbecomes very difficult. Lack of trust, and cut-throat commercialization also keeps peopleaway from each other and thus, they cannot plan and/or undertake any collaborativeefforts for risk reduction. Risk reduction there is least of their priority.4.6 Social challengesThe people in some of the major cities including Sylhet are very religious. Many of themhave a strong belief that Sylhet will not be affected by any major disaster because it is theholy land consisting of the shrines of many a religious saints like Hazrat Shah Jalal (RA)and Hazrat Shah Paran (RA). This also contributes to lack of interest for any disasterpreparedness.In 1987, the Great Indian Earthquake occurred and took life of 545 people. More than100 years has been passed. The present generations have not yet experienced any massivetremor and seen the destruction of earthquake. This is one of the underlying facts whichis keeping the community people aloof from taking preparedness.Due to prevailing social norms women in some of the major cities are not permitted tomove freely and thus, restricted from getting involved in public events which is a muchessential component for mass awareness-raising. Most of the targeted population in urbanareas are rich and mostly exhibit reluctance to spend time for community based activities;failing to realize that the people blessed with more resources actually are more at risk oflosing it all to any hazard or disaster and need to take a more proactive approach and rolein disaster preparedness.5. Exploring Community Strengths in Reducing RisksTaking into consideration the role that the communities can play in reducing theunderlying risk factors of the major hazards and the people are at the core of the disasterrisk reduction at different levels, some countries have already been working with thecommunities in order to decrease the loss from small- and medium-scale disasters. Some8|Page
  10. 10. successes have already been achieved by Duryog Nivaran, a network of organizationsand individuals who used this community focused approach in South Asia includingBangladesh.These success stories apparently indicate the abilities of local communities andencourage different bodies to work with the communities for urban disaster riskreduction. Though, there are many challenges in working with urban communities, thereare also some positives aspects that increase the chances of success for the communitybased approach. Specifically, there are some potential strengths for which communitybased approach can be adopted in the urban areas. Such as,1. The community knows its risks better than the external people and authorities. They also have indigenous knowledge and local experience to cope with local disasters that are less known to outsiders.2. Higher population helps to find community members who have the scope and enthusiasm to help and volunteer for such initiatives.3. It is easy to get access to the government/ non-government service providers in the urban areas.4. The literacy rate is higher in the urban areas and thus dissemination of information for awareness building across the community is comparatively easier in the urban areas.5. The quality and availability of transport system and other necessary services are better in urban areas compared to rural.6. A larger number of students come to urban school compared to rural areas. One training session can educate many students from just one school, so the dissemination of the message across the target community can be faster.Since the urban areas are the nerve centers of the country, it is easy to approachdevelopment or emergency specialists. So the preparations of training sessions are morefeasible and emergency responses can be faster. Now, for urban risk reduction,capitalizing on all these things is very crucial. We need to explore more and morepotential strengths in the communities and after doing that we need to encourage andfacilitate them on how they can use their strengths to reduce their own vulnerabilities tohazards.6. Need for Comprehensive Approach with Mass Awareness9|Page
  11. 11. The expanding scale of urban vulnerability and pressures can one day result in greattragedy if we ignore it today. It is not an easy task for the government or any otherprivate organization alone and it calls for a more comprehensive and unified actions fromall the actors. There is an immediate need for a strong and increasing governmentcommitment towards urban disaster risk reduction initiatives. The government needs toformulate policy and encourage common people to be more proactive in learning andtaking measures to reduce their vulnerabilities. Mass public awareness is one of the majorpre-requisite when sincerity and transparency of all the concerned people come as secondpriority.The vibrant NGO community has to expand their resources, efforts and proven abilities todeliver effective risk reduction programmes with a focus on developing innovative waysto create safer urban environment at community levels. There is no simple, standardized,widely-accepted approach for an urban community to detect their risks and come up witha set of measures to minimize disaster risks. In such a situation, the communities need tofind and develop their own approach to examine the problem and/or use informationreadily provided to them. There is a strong need for every single member of thecommunity to increase their level of participation, knowledge and skills required in orderto transform into safe and healthy future generation.7. Urban Safety Interventions of IRW in SylhetIslamic Relief Worldwide started workon urban risk reduction in Sylhet in2007. It initially was able to cover 3wards from Sylhet City Corporationunder the 3rd DIPECHO Action Planfunded by ECHO. Under the followingthree DIPECHO Action Plans, IRWworked in 06 wards in each of itsproject phases. Currently, under the 6thDIPECHO Action Plan, IRW hasselected the wards 01, 03, 14, 16, 17and 27, where it is working with thecommunity for awareness raising onurban hazards such as earthquake, water-logging and fire outbreak. The majorinterventions are training events for preparatory knowledge and emergency responsecapacity building, risk and resource mapping, contingency planning and risk reductionaction planning, equipment for stock-building, dissemination of information materials forawareness raising and advocacy at the policy level through the community. Aiming atcommunity based approach, the project formed community based organizations atdifferent levels to ensure community participation and sustainability of the objectives.10 | P a g e
  12. 12. The relationship and the mutual understanding of IRW-B and the community people canbe considered as a huge social capital for the community people and as well as for IRW-B. This worthy social capital was not built in a day. Certain steps were taken and stageswere gone through to reach to the final phase. The active participation of the communitypeople has helped IRW-B to come up with unique approaches over there to reduce therisk of urban hazards and thus to promote urban safety, which has got acceptance andproved its merit in the community.8. IRW’s Community Based Approach for Urban SafetyThe urban safety approach adopted by Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW-B) is a harbingerfor rooting its work further into the communities and has set the ground to effectivelyaddress the underlying causes of their vulnerabilities in the urban areas of Bangladesh.IRW-B is working to foster the existing capacities of the people and promoting selfsufficient communities for urban risk reduction. IRW-B has facilitated the processthrough organising strong community groups in the working areas. These groups connectto individual households and other local communities including civil service providers.The members of these community groups work very sincerely especially in terms oflearning things, disseminating knowledge, taking actions, coordinating with relevantbodies and taking all other required measures for urban disaster management. They areprovided with different capacity building trainings and for them to be skilled, equippedand possess a very strong motivation and dedication to be a bridge between IRW-B andthe masses.The community based approach of IRW-B has certain stages through which it passes.The community based approach is segmented into three stages.8.1 Inception stageIRW-B started with organizing project inception workshops at different levels of thecommunity to give an idea of the project objectives to the people and also to show thecommunity stakeholders‟ roles in it. This stage is all about making people aware of thetasks what they are going to implement,making them aware of the issuesrelevant to the tasks, sensitizing themon those and finally mobilizing them sothat they can take the leadership inreducing their risks of hazards.8.2 Consolidation stageAfter the process of mobilisation,various community based organizations(CBOs) are formed at different levelsof the community such as Ward11 | P a g e
  13. 13. Disaster Management Committee (WDMC), Community Volunteers Group (CVG),School Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), and clusters/mohallah groups. Thusthe ownership is transferred to the community through involving the CBOs at each wardfor conducting ward wise risk, vulnerability and capacity assessment, preparingcontingency plans and developing risk reduction action plans with necessary measures toreduce their own risks.In this phase, knowledge and skill is also transferred to the community through differenttrainings, such as basic training on DRR, urban risk assessment, first aid, search andrescue, school safety, fire safety, training of religious leaders, training on safeconstruction for engineers, architects, masons, bar binders etc. Equipments are given tothese community groups to ensure effective response from their end during anemergency.8.3 Phase-out stageThroughout the process, a linkage is developed between these community based groupsand the stakeholders and service providers so that once the project phases out, thecoordination between these groups and the stakeholders can carry forward the tasks andensure the practice of DRR across the community. In this final phase, the full ownershipand responsibilities are given to the community people or community groups with aplanned division of work and responsibilities to all. For sustainability of the initiatives, itis ensured that the community willcontinue and perform theirresponsibilities as they do in the projectperiod.9. Roles of Different Community Groups in SylhetThere are some well structured and wellfunctioning groups formed by IRW-Bin Sylhet. All these groups have somespecific roles and responsibilities forreducing the disaster risks in that area.Moreover, there is a strongcollaboration mechanism among thesegroups. The figures below show theformation and coordination mechanismof different groups over there:Now let us have a look on the detail ofthese groups:12 | P a g e
  14. 14. 9.1 Ward Disaster Management Committee (WDMC)City Corporation Disaster Management Committee (CCDMC) is the lowest tier ofDisaster Management Committee working in an urban setting as per the Standing Orderof Disaster of Bangladesh Government. Under the project, IRW-B replicated the structureof the CCDMC and formed Ward level Disaster Management Committees in therespective wards. The view was to introduce the concept and need of a central disastermanagement body representing the government and liaising with the relevant governmentauthorities.WDMCs comprise influential people fromthe community willing to provide volunteerservices and who are well accepted amongother community members. This generallyincludes Ward Councilor, teachers,freedom fighters, engineers, doctors,service-holders, local club / volunteergroup leaders, religious leaders etc. Playinga guardianship role in community basedapproach for disaster risk reduction, theWDMC works at the policy level and alsoserves as the bridge between thegovernment stakeholders and the othercommunity groups working on DRR. The WDMC also supports the communityvolunteers and other groups with their social resources to undertake DRR initiatives.9.2 Community Volunteer Groups (CVG)The next level of community based group to work alongside WDMC as supportingstructure is the community volunteer group. Both perform separate functions. WDMCplays more of a guardianship role mostly doing the coordination and advocacy part whileensuring a close monitoring and guidance, while the volunteers group works at the coreand directly with the community. Community volunteer groups in each ward includesome highly motivated and enthusiastic community members willing to spend most oftheir available time for the risk reduction and other developmental activities in thecommunity.IRW-B builds their capacities on disaster risk reduction with different trainings and thusthese volunteers are prepared as first level of community responders for future disasters.These volunteers go door to door and institutions to raise awareness and help themprepare to reduce the risks. They are the important agents for the continuation of thiscommunity based approach as they arrange regular meetings to chalk out their own planfor different self-led initiatives for preparing their community for a disaster beyond theproject duration.13 | P a g e
  15. 15. The model attempts to link thesevolunteer groups with the already Case 1: Community Initiated Campaignexisting local clubs to promote The community volunteers’ group of Ward#17 incollective critical consciousness Sylhet City Corporation has been working for raisingthat finally leads to local action. community awareness on earthquake safety since theThis is done through introducing group was formed by IRW under the 6th DIPECHO Action Plan. Recently they arranged a communitythe proactive and permanent based awareness program at one of the local schools.members of local clubs into the The volunteers arranged the programme innewly formed disaster coordination with a local club Waves Social Welfaremanagement committees as well Club. Among the activities of the daylong event, theyas community volunteer groups. included an art competition for the school children on the theme of ‘earthquake safety both at home andAs a result, a resource group is school’ and also a discussion session on ‘what thebeing developed within the local stakeholders can do for ensuring resilience againstestablished clubs who will take earthquake’.lead in strengthening communitycapacity in terms of DRR boththrough their own institutions aswell as with the community basedgroups formed through urbansafety initiatives under variousprojects.The transfer of knowledge andskill also takes place at the sametime as the members of the DRR Mr. Syed Ashfak Ahmed, the honorable Upazilagroups are able to share the Chairman, was invited as the chief guest for the eventawareness and expertise within and 05 Ward Councilors of the City Corporation weretheir institutions. On the whole, present during the occasion as special guests.the issues related to DRR arestrongly interlinked and mainstreamed with their social actions under the agenda of theirindividual clubs and institutions.9.3 Cluster/ Mohallah groupsThe cluster or mohallah groups are formed with people from the community who aredirectly exposed to the urban risk and are quite unaware of the basic preparedness andresponse measures. The volunteer groups with support from the WDMC and othercommunity stakeholders work directly in these clusters to raise the awareness of thecommunity members and to ensure that the learning is translated into practice athousehold and institutional level. The volunteers or the WDMC members raise theawareness of these people through different sessions and with different IEC materials,video shows and other media. The members of cluster group as the end receiver takehousehold preparedness measure after being aware of these issues. These groups are veryimportant as they take the learning into practice and translate the awareness intohousehold level implementation of safety measures.14 | P a g e
  16. 16. Case 2: Community Initiated Mock Drill The volunteers of Ward no: 17 at Sylhet demonstrated a mock drill in February, 2012. The entire effort taken up by the community was the result of a collective utilization of social capital in terms of financial support and coordination. The responsibility of the entire simulation drill was assigned to the local Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD) by the local community and the process was facilitated by the community volunteers in coordination with IRW-B who are working in this ward for community-based disaster risk reduction. The majority of the expenditure was borne by the community stakeholders themselves. Waves Social Welfare Club, a locally established club that works for different community welfare objectives and the Surma Super Market businessmen‟s committee jointly took the cost for the entire programme. The market is situated in one of the busiest parts of the city. The six-storied building has around 75 shops in its ground floor while there is the office of a Government bank (Sonali Bank) on the 2nd and 3rd floor. The top three floors of the building are used for residential purpose occupied by 35 families (158 people). So the volunteers picked this building as it covered both household level and institutional level safety through the simulation. IRW-B provided them with necessary technical supports, especially tagging them with FSCD. The community volunteers developed their coordination with the local fire service authority during a training programme on Fire Fighting and Search and Rescue that was arranged by IRW for its community volunteer groups under the 6th DIPECHO Action Plan. Based on that coordination, the community volunteers planned out the mock drill at the market level with support from FSCD. For their long-term working experience on community based DRR, the volunteers involved IRW-B as well in their plans and IRW ensured their share of contribution though this was not in their project intervention plans. After several days of planning, on the eve before the main event, the community volunteers alongside the members from both Waves Club and the Surma market committee acted out the entire process of the drill in the building and demonstrated the roles of each for the simulation. They invited and informed the community people from different level to attend the event and shared the message as part of their social responsibility and especially the presence of the Mayor and other important government officials enhanced the significance of the event.(Please see annexure-1 for selection criteria, group formation and roles and responsibilities ofthe different groups)9.4 School Disaster Management Committee (SDMC)In the urban risk reduction approach of IRW-B, schools have been given muchimportance. IRW-B has formed School Disaster Management Committees (SDMCs) withstudents, teachers and guardians. The objective of working with the schools is to preparethese institutions for potential disasters as schools are densely populated institutions with On the scheduled day, when the simulation drill, hundreds of people on the road watched on aschildren, one of the building got affected by a fire outbreakemergency. As the children false fire spectators as the most vulnerable groups during an (simulated through smoke and areefficient learnersthe community volunteers worked in cohesion learning at household The local alarm) and and good means for dissemination of the with the FSCD staff. and volunteers group responded first with their protective gears on and tried to minimize the damage15 | P a ghelped some of the victims evacuate the building. Meanwhile the FSCD team arrived on the and e scene and conducted a comprehensive operation to extinguish the fire and then search and rescue the victims inside. The volunteers helped them out with providing first aid support to the rescued but injured victims.
  17. 17. community level, IRW-B tries to usetheir potential to develop a consciousfuture generation. For making theSDMCs more effective, these have beenlinked with the School ManagementCommittee and the scout groups in theschools so that they can inter-link theirobjectives and DRR can bemainstreamed into the overall schoolagenda round the year.Along with all these community groups,IRW-B is working with some other important institutions like hospitals, markets,construction agencies, religious institutions etc. where there is higher risk of casuality dueto any hazard. IRW-B in coordination with DGHS (govt. department concerned) isproviding trainings to the doctors and nurses on mass casualty management and preparingthem to act on emergency situations as first and effective responders.IRW-B is also working for the capacity building of the masons, engineers and bar bindersfor safer construction. Apart from the community volunteers IRW-B is training thereligious leaders from the target communities who have large acceptance in thecommunity and can play a vital role in dissemination of DRR knowledge across thecommunity people. The religious leaders are given the basic DRR knowledge which theydisseminate during their weekly preaching with a guaranteed mass gathering. Figure: 210. Linkage and Coordination among Various Groups:The project is designed and implemented in a way so that there is constant coordinationand linkage between the community-based groups formed at different levels. Each of thecluster groups ensures participation from potential members of the community16 | P a g e
  18. 18. volunteers, thus the active volunteers with leadership qualities are represented in theWDMC groups in each ward, and thus the linkage and coordination between each of thetier of the community is ensured throughout the project.IRW-B is also facilitating the community groups to have a strong coordination with thelocal government authorities and other relevant stakeholders especially the members fromthe civil society, who have a good name in that area. This coordination and linkage helpsthe groups get access to those officials when necessary and thus these linkages promotethe scope of advocacy that the community groups take forward to them on the basis of theRisk Reduction Action Plan (RRAP) that they developed by themselves.11. Major Activities Promoting Urban SafetyIRW-B makes different interventions to enhance the capacity and social strength of thecommunity. Following are the major interventions under the project: Risk and Resource Mapping and Planning: IRW-B is facilitating the groups to recognize their own risks and resources and chalk out a risk reduction action plan to be implemented by their own initiatives. The process is conducted through Urban Risk Assessment (URA) involving the community members from different levels. For the institutional level, school safety plan and hospital safety plans are developed. Awareness Raising: At this stage, basic training on the issue of DRR is conducted for volunteers and following the training, the volunteer groups are encouraged to arrange awareness sessions in their mohallahs to make the other community members aware about household level preparedness. Emergency Response Skill Transfer: The urban community groups are prepared as the first responders for an emergency period and different training programs are arranged for them such as fire fighting, first aid, search and rescue etc. Community stakeholders like Fire Service and Civil Defence and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society are involved in these events as facilitators and to create linkage between them and the community groups for future coordination. IRW-B also arranged training for the engineers, architects, masons and bar-binders on earthquake resilient construction. Stock-piling and Equipment for Effective Emergency Response: To ensure effective response from these first responders from the community in an emergency, fire safety equipment, search and rescue kits and first aid kits are given to these community groups under the project and proper demonstration and mock simulation drills are arranged to test their skills for a real scenario.17 | P a g e
  19. 19. Advocacy Campaign: Through the community groups, different advocacy campaigns are initiated both at local and national level to ensure infrastructural safety through ensuring application of the national building code and to ensure the ownership and responsibilities of the community stakeholders in different DRR initiatives. These advocacy campaigns are arranged through seminar, day observance, rally and other community led initiatives. The community groups are able to involve the national figures like Professor Md. Jafar Iqbal, the SCC Mayor Badar Uddin Ahmad Kamran etc. Their presence in events mentioned above help draw the attention of policy makers fruitfully. Capacity building of masons, engineer, and architects: Under the 6th DIPECHO Action Plan, IRW has provided trainings to the masons, engineers and architects through. A group of experts from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and Institute of Architects in Bangladesh (IAB) facilitated the trainings after preparing the training module for them. These trainings were arranged to enhance the capacity of these people for safer building construction. They have been given certificates signed by the SCC Mayor, which indicates that these people can construct the buildings complying with the building codes. Structural Assessment through Resource Mobilization: Recently IRW-B facilitated a structural risk assessment initiative with the support from BUET in some important buildings of Sylhet so that these samples can be used for advocacy purposes and it can be the inspiration and point of motivation for the other people and for the concerned government bodies The community as a result of this approach can recognize their own resources and are making good use of them. The volunteer groups in different wards arrange different Awareness Campaign in their areas. They use their own human resource and fund for awareness sessions at school classroom, tea-stall, household, community based rally, popular theater, signature collection, distribution of IEC materials and emergency contact numbers etc to meet their action plan for community awareness-raising on different DRR issues.18 | P a g e
  20. 20. 12. ConclusionIslamic Relief Worldwide- Bangladesh has made some strong urban community groupsin Sylhet with the purpose to sensitize and prepare the rest of their community membersfor future potential disasters. These community groups are working with IRW-B as wellas with the local authority to reduce their vulnerability. Aiming high to reduce andmanage risk the two stakeholders; community people and IRW-B are working side byside. Already there have been some significant achievements of the community basedDRR approach in Sylhet which can be used as examples for other cities for ensuringcommunity participation in disaster risk reduction.The community based approach for ensuring safer urban settlement indicates the urgencythat the cities and local governments should be ready, reduce the risks and becomeresilient to potential disasters. Recently the United Nations International Strategy forDisaster Reduction (UNISDR) has launched its campaign „Making Cities Resilient‟ forthis purpose. Mayors and their local governments are both key targets and drivers of thecampaign. Local Government officials need to be operationally ready to face disasters ona day-to-day basis and need better policies and tools to effectively deal with them.The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations andCommunities to Disasters offers solutions for local governments and local actors tomanage and reduce urban risk. Meanwhile, the 2010-2015 World Disaster ReductionCampaign "Making Cities Resilient" addresses issues of local governance and urban riskwhile drawing upon previous ISDR Campaigns on safer schools and hospitals. IRW-Bunder its programmatic approach towards urban solution for disaster risk reduction iscontributing to these campaigns and strategies through working directly with thecommunities and transferring not only the knowledge and skills, but also building stakesand long-term ownership of the concept as well.In doing so, IRW-B is involving communities in disaster risk reduction programs whichis providing a platform for these communities to execute their own risk reductionmeasures, and thus create the sense of ownership and increase the possibilities ofsustainability in the future.19 | P a g e
  21. 21. Annexure-01:1.1 Mohallah Group/Cluster Group1.1.1 Criteria for Cluster Group Formation  1 member per household.  Proactive community representative  Will have community acceptance  Leadership quality  Different community group (At least 50% female, PWD, Religious leader, local elite, )  Different age group (Aged, Youth, Children)  At least 1 Aged (above 60 years) person  At least 1 Person with Disability (if any)  Considerable literacy level  Previous volunteering experience will be given preference  Skilled people (masons, craftsman, pharmacists, defence, fire service, doctors)1.1.2 Roles and Responsibilities  HH preparedness plan development  Awareness session/meeting participation with maintaining proper documentations  Attend awareness raising activities (campaign, seminar, day observation)  Knowledge share within family and neighbours and community level  Prepare, review and implement action plan at HH and community level  Represent to next group  Networking with other Primary group1.1.3 Committee formation Total members: 30  1 president*  1 vice president  1 GS*  1 information secretary  1 treasurer  4 executive members  15 general members*One female member should hold the position of either President or Secretary.20 | P a g e
  22. 22. 1.2 Community Volunteers Group (CVG)1.2.2 Roles and Responsibilities  Actively participate in the awareness sessions  Conduct awareness sessions with Primary groups  Maintain proper documents like resolutions, minutes, back account details, registers etc.  Attend in capacity development activities (training, workshop)  Represent and maintain liaison and share progress with WDMC  Communicate and establish linkage with Primary group and WDMC  Support formation of SDMC  Actively participation in URA process and develop RRAPs together with WDMC  Develop Ward level contingency planning with together with WDMC  Organize and participate in folk show drama, popular theatre, day observation, mock drill etc  Prepare, review and implement action plan at community/ cluster level  Generate DRR fund  Coordinate with media group  Form various taskforces1.2.3 Committee formation  1 president*  1 vice president  1 GS*  1 information secretary  1 treasurer  4 executive members  0-15 general members*One female member should hold the position of either President or Secretary.1.3 Ward Disaster Management Committee (WDMC)The project encompassed the structure of City Corporation Disaster ManagementCommittee (CCDMC) and replicated it at the ward level by forming Ward DisasterManagement Committee (WDMC). Each WDMC have a member of maximum 32members. Around nine members from the CVG group represents in the respectiveWDMC.21 | P a g e
  23. 23. 1.3.1 Roles and Responsibilities  Arrange regular training and workshops on disaster management and disaster risk reduction for volunteers, SMC, religious leaders and other stakeholders at Ward level by keeping the City Corporation informed.  Hold hazard, vulnerability, capacity and risk analysis at Ward level.  Contribute forming and managing volunteer team under City Corporation.  Develop Ward disaster preparedness plan for natural and human induced disasters e.g. earthquake, fire, flood flash flood and water logging etc.  Identify community at risk based on age, sex, ethnic community and minority class, physical fitness, social status, profession and economic condition.  Review Ward level developmental and other interventions to introduce risk reduction elements in that.  Develop linkages with utility services for immediate restoration of lifeline services and manage available fund for the implementation of risk reduction action plans.  Inform the local people about practical measures for the reduction of risk at household and community levels.  Determine specific safe centres/shelters/ open place where the people of particular area will go at the time of disaster.  Ensure that temporary shelters have supply of safe drinking water and provision of sanitation and forming shelter management committee consisting of CVG/WDMC members.  Prepare relevant preparedness plans for search and rescue, primary relief operation, and local arrangement for rehabilitation of severely affected families.  Creating and raising funds for pre and post disaster activities.  Arranging bi-monthly/quarterly coordination meeting with CCDMC.  Preparing monthly update on their planning and activities to CCDMC.  WDMC will develop their own contingency plan at the ward level and revise it twice a year. During Disaster  Operate emergency rescue work with the facilities locally available and/or provide support services to other rescue teams.  Coordinate all relief activities (GO-NGO) at Ward level so that relief materials are distributed impartially.  Ensure the overall security of women, children and persons with disability during disaster residing in safe centres/shelters and other places.  Support to protect environmental degradation.  Post Disaster Period (The period following the emergency phase)22 | P a g e
  24. 24.  Collect and submit statistics regarding damage and loss due to disaster according to directives from Disaster Management Bureau.  Allocate and distribute on the basis of actual needs, the materials received from local source or Directorate of Relief and Rehabilitation/ other sources for relief and rehabilitation work according to the directives of DMB/DRR.  Ensure community people led proper sanitation system with special preference of women, children, aged people with ensuring safe water.  Take necessary measures so that people can return to their home after the disaster is over. In such cases, if there is any dispute regarding the legality of the land, it should not be an obstacle for them to return to their previous place after the disaster.  Arrange counselling for people suffering from psycho-trauma due to disaster, with the collaborative support of experts and community elites.  Arrange the health-related personnel to provide appropriate and adequate care to disaster affected people and if needed, request the District health authority for assistance.1.3.2 Committee formation  1 president*  1 vice president  1 GS*  1 information secretary  1 treasurer  4 executive members  0-23 general members*Ward Councillor is the president and a female member holds the position of eitherPresident or Secretary.1.4 School Disaster Management Committee (SDMC)1.4.1 Criteria for SDMCEach SDMC will have members of 27 members comprising of students, teachers andSMC members. The structure of the committees and criteria for membership is givenbelow:  1 president: Head of SMC  1 GS: Principle or Head master  1 joint secretary: Scout teachers or Sports teacher  3 Executive member: (Teacher and SMC members (1 female)  General member: 21 (students) 50% female23 | P a g e
  25. 25. In case of high, student form class 7 or 8 will be given preference as these students willstay for longer period in the schools than students of class 9 or 10. Also students havingexperience of scout, BNCC or any other extracurricular activities will be given priority.1.4.2 Roles and Responsibilities  Take part in the capacity building activities (DP/DRR training, school safety training, Search and Rescue, First Aid and Fire Fighting Training) and disseminate knowledge in peer groups  Form various tasks forces like Search and Rescue Task force, First Aid Task Force, Fire Fighting Task force etc.  Carry out monthly sharing session at family level  Carry out school safety audit and contingency plan  Organize and participate in simulation exercise  Linkage with other SDMCS through network  Participate in Inter/intra-school Debate/drawing competitions  Organize and participate in Mass school based Awareness campaign  Develop and implement Student led micro project  Display of evacuation routes in each class24 | P a g e
  26. 26. References:, M. Mizanur (2012): Understanding Dimensions of Development. Dhaka, A HDevelopment Publishing HouseBibliography: | P a g e