A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Preparations for disaster and a quick initial response by local government officials and non-governmental organizations saved many lives after Cyclone Sidr struck the southern coastal areas of Bangladesh on 15 November 2007. However, over a million women, men and children are entering their second winter without safe, adequate homes.
This report highlights the reasons for these concerns – and what should be done to address them.
- The Bangladesh government should fulfil the rights of disaster-affected women, men and children to safe, adequate housing.
- The government should immediately and proactively identify landless survivors and allocate suitable state (khas) land to them.
- The international donor community should provide the government of Bangladesh and supporting actors with new funds to help disaster-affected communities rebuild hazard-resilient homes, restore livelihoods and strengthen essential services infrastructure.
- The Bangladesh government and international donors must take seriously their commitments to “building back better” and improve resilience to disasters (as agreed under the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action) by increasing efforts to address underlying vulnerabilities caused by social, political, economic and physical conditions.
- The government, international donors, and development agencies should systematically integrate disaster risk reduction principles and climate change adaptation measures into all development projects.
A new documentary, Our Home After Sidr, produced by Oxfam, highlights the serious problems still facing many families affected by Cyclone Sidr one year later.