Housing for the people displaced by disaster must cater to their actual needs, rather than providing them with an arbitrary solution, said disaster management experts at a discussion in the capital yesterday.
Displaced persons would consider their housing safe only when the facilities would ensure safety for their families and properties, they also said.
Christian Aid and Shifting the Power organised the discussion on safe homes, marking the International Day for Disaster Reduction at The Daily Star Centre.
Renowned disaster management expert Abdul Latif Khan during the discussion said, “Housing for the displaced isn't simply a matter of structures” as their lives and livelihoods will need to be considered while building a facility for them.
Gawher Nayeem Wahra, adjunct faculty of Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies at Dhaka University, said housing facilities for the displaced must have safety and security features for women and children. Also, a house should be designed in a way so it withstands local conditions.
Citing data from Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Gawher said 8,55,000 people have been displaced by disasters in the country during first six months this year. Around 20,000 families become displaced in the country every year due to river erosion alone.
Atwar Rahman, humanitarian programme manager at Oxfam, said housing without security and sanitation would not work.
Rafiqul Alam Mollah, executive director of Unnyan Sangha, said the real needs of the displaced are often overlooked when housing is provided according to the donors' design.
Hence, a standard needs to be set for designing housing for the persons displaced by disaster, said MA Halim, director of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.
Md Reaz Ahmed, director general of Department of Disaster Management; Mahbuba Nasreen, director of Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies of Dhaka University; and Saudia Anwar, capacity development specialist of UNDP; spoke among others with Shakeb Nabi, country director of Christian Aid, in the chair.