The Bangladesh Cyclone Preparedness Program. A Vital Component of the Nation’s Multi-Hazard Early Warning System
Since the 1970 cyclone that killed an estimated 300,000 people and the 1991 cyclone which took over 138,000 lives, significant strides have been made in planning and preparedness that have resulted in greatly reduced losses from subsequent storms in Bangladesh. Central to the Bangladesh Early Warning System is the Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP), developed and improved through the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), United Nations, International Red Cross and the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society. The CPP utilizes over 42,000 volunteers along with a transceiver telecommunications network to ensure rapid delivery of warnings to the population at risk. The success of the CPP arises from its simplicity, attention to socio-cultural aspects, and its extensive community-based volunteer and communications network that expedite the delivery of cyclone warning messages produced by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD). Vital warning information from the BMD can be disseminated to responding agencies and the public at-risk in less than 15 minutes from the time of warning issuance to the beginning of evacuation orders. Evacuation of the population at risk to more than 2,000 storm shelters is expedited through a highly organized volunteer network at the village level.