Post-disaster recovery in the cyclone Aila affected coastline of Bangladesh: women’s role, challenges and opportunities

  • Khurshed Alam
  • Md. Habibur RahmanEmail author
Original Paper


The present study deals with the gender aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) situation in post-cyclone Aila period in Bangladesh. Data were collected using participatory approaches like individual interview, key informant interview, focus group discussion and field level observation. Study reveals that after Aila, women had to travel 500 m–2 km per day to fetch water from safe water sources spending 30–90 min. People used pit and hanging latrines, uncovered water framed latrines as well as had open defecation. Considering the impromptu needs, government and other aid-giving agencies focused on immediate WaSH programme. The paper is an outcome of a critical assessment of those arduous efforts made to overcome the WaSH challenges after Aila, particularly women’s role in and challenges faced by them to improving the situation. Also attempt has been made to examine the opportunities and challenges of sustainability of WaSH programme pursued in the post-disaster period. For recovery of the WaSH system, a two-part strategy was followed where one was to make technology (tubewell, pond and filter, saline purification and rainwater harvesting plants) that supporting social arrangement and another was social arrangement (group formation, capacity building on construction, operation and maintenance) that supporting technology. A techno-social contingent model has been followed for addressing the post-disaster WaSH situation following a WasH approach. Women’s these roles in meeting the households’ WaSH requirements might be called WaSH-feminism. The main finding is that although there was a technical challenge to overcome the water and sanitation crises, after the disaster a set of appropriate technologies could remove it considerably, but a corresponding social arrangement was required there to operate it. Many kinds of technical and social limiting factors were there for women that could be removed partly but not totally.


Cyclone Aila Post-disaster WaSH Operation and maintenance WaSH-feminism Resilience Koyra 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bangladesh Institute of Social Research (BISR) TrustDhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.Laboratory of Tropical Forest Resources and Environments, Division of Forest and Biomaterials Science, Graduate School of AgricultureKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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