Rephrasing Existence: Enacting Disaster Resilient Features in the Traditional Houses of Coastal areas of Satkhira, Bangladesh

Z Monjur Murshed, Nadia Monzur
Journal of Civil Engineering and Environmental Technology   unpublished
The coastal areas of Bangladesh experienced two of the most devastating cyclones of the last decade, consequently in 2007(Sidr) and in 2009(Aila) that concluded in a devastating aftermath of at least 3786 deaths. More than 2.5 million people were left homeless and the total damage was counted to be of more than 650 million. The massive loss of life is due to the high density of population in the coastal areas, people living in poverty within poorly constructed houses and the extremely low-lying
more » ... extremely low-lying land of the coastal zone. In the name of disaster preparedness, the major response to frequent cyclonic storms has been the establishment of cyclone shelters, which considering the depth of damage forced upon by such calamities, have failed to ensure minimum loss of lives and assets. The reason behind that is, while the cyclone shelters have been proved to be useful they are more of a disaster management solution and thus is useful particularly in the event of a cyclone. But in the case of developing countries like Bangladesh where the coastal areas are highly vulnerable to such cyclonic effects, actions on identifying the point of intervention at micro level becomes paramount. Acknowledging this scenario, it becomes necessary to walk through a more suited approach that will enhance building sustainability during and after cyclones and will minimize the damages in the event of a disaster. An extensive survey was conducted in Satkhira, one of the most disaster prone coastal areas of Bangladesh, to document the architectural, structural and traditional features of the construction of these houses. This paper summarizes the challenges and their probable responses with the aim of making the traditional structures more compatible to cyclonic storms by proposing some vital guidelines for traditional house building in coastal areas of Bangladesh.