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Communities in Bangladesh build disaster-resilient homes

In an effort to create new methods of preparing for natural disasters, some Bangladesh residents, with the help of humanitarians, have built "disaster-resilient settlements," IRIN reports.

"The houses, built on 2-meter concrete stilts, are designed to withstand a tidal surge of up to six feet and winds of up to 150 miles per hour, Aminul Islam, assistant director at the country's UN Development Programme office, told the publication.

Residents of the Southern city of Shymnaga helped build the 50 houses, dubbed the disaster-resilient habitat in this fashion, which can accommodate up to 300 people.

The plan was put into action to help residents cope with the prevalent cyclones that strike the bay more frequently now than in years past. Cyclone Aila in 2009 caused millions of dollars in damages and left people homeless and without food security, clean water and in many cases, without work.

"I lost my house as well as eight goats, 20 ducks and 10 sacks of rice," Sulaya Khatum, who survived Aila, told the source. "I have been working as a day labourer ever since."

The new safe houses offer hope to people in the area, especially since they had a hand in building them.

"We know how to build strong houses; the challenge is building stronger communities," Khondaker Hasibul Kabir, the new disaster-resilient project's lead architect, told the news outlet. "In the process of building these habitats, the community has grown stronger, allowing for a quick and coordinated response in the event of a disaster."
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