Bangladesh is a disaster‐prone country that is affected almost every and alternative year by some form of natural disasters, be it floods, torrential rains, river erosion, or cyclones. Of the 508 cyclones that have originated in the Bay of Bengal in the last 100 years, 17% have hit Bangladesh, amounting to a severe cyclone almost once every three years. Of these, nearly 53% have claimed more than a hundred thousand casualties and deaths and now the loss of lives become below a few thousands is the outstanding success of disaster preparedness programme of GOB and NGOs in Bangladesh.
GK also experienced to treat over hundred thousands of women, men, boys and girls during natural and man-made disasters by providing emergency health care services. GK has inborn capacity to mobilise a large number of health professionals immediate after 1987, 1988, 2000, 2003, 2007 flood at most of the inundated districts, 1989, 1996 Tornado at Saturia, Jamalpur, Joydebpur districts, Cholera/Diarrohea and Malaria epidemic at Manikganj, Borguna, Bandarban, Sylhet and Sherpur districts, 1989, 1991, 2003 Communal Violence in 1990 at Shanir Akhra, 1992 at Kutubdia, Moheshkhali, Bhola, Manikganj (Babri Mosque), 2003, 2007, 2010 at Mohochari, Baghaihat of CHT and Myanmar Refugee Relief for displaced population in 1978, 1992—1994 at Cox’s Bazar. Bandarban districts, Cyclone and a tidal surge in 1985 at Urirchar, 1988 at Satkhira, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2004 at Cox’s Bazar, Bhola districts, 2007 cyclone SIDR at Borguna, Pirojpur, Bagerhat districts and 2009 cyclone AILA at Satkhira districts. The collapse of Rana Plaza caused the death of 1134 garment workers on April 24, 2013, and 2,438 Garment workers came out alive and about 330 workers were missing to make it the worst ever industrial accident in the history of Bangladesh.
GK always moves first with medical teams with the additional responsibility of distribution of food aid, clothing, restoration of the environment, cleaning debris, water and sanitation, emergency shelter repair, and other essential relief items to protect people during their traumatic moment in lives. Later on undertake long term rehabilitation and development programmes for shelter construction, repair and construction of road and embankment, re-excavation of canal, a pond for fisheries, duck farming, vermicompost for sustainable organic homestead garden and mechanised agriculture through organised cooperatives by mainstreaming women power tiller, pump operators for the restoration of livelihood of the affected communities.
Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Disaster Response
GK has its origin in Bangladesh’s struggle for independence in 1971. Its historical roots lie in Bangladesh Hospital, the 480-bed field frontline hospital set up for freedom fighters and refugees. After independence, it evolved into a rural health care programme and gradually became involved in the development issues and activities that affect the lives of the people of Bangladesh, particularly the oppressed majority. The organization has retained its wartime orientation of a readiness to fight and face any crisis situation. Its ability to mobilize the entire organization at times of crisis means it is always in a state of preparedness and can respond very fast in such a situation.
GK has an ongoing programme to train health workers, teachers, mason, carpenters, plumbers, pump fitters and operators to develop the capacity to mobilise a large number of various types of workers supported by supervisory officials and local volunteers from the community, social clubs and small NGOs within a couple of days of the disaster.
DRR activities include all aspects of the work related to the cyclone. The beneficiaries are given orientation on cyclone/ flood warning signals to take basic precautions. For this a training manual has prepared and distributed among the participants. At the community level, several methods have been adopted to spread awareness through a day-long orientation on DRR massages. GK has completed the DRR training of 5,082 group members. Red Crescent trainer, as well as local public representatives, helped GK in conducting the training.