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Bangladesh due to its delta construction and geographical location is a flood prone country. In August 2011, a devastating flood affected nearly 13 districts out of 64 in the country. Among these, three south-west coastal districts i.e. Khulna, Jessore and Satkhira were the worst hit and experienced prolonged water logging situation for more than 6 months that eventually resulted in 250,000 internally displaced population. Water logging in this area though instigated by several factors, ended up with bringing in multi-faceted damages. A total of 24 NGOs (both national and international) corroboratively conducted a need assessment in Sep11 and major humanitarian needs were identified through the gap analysis of vulnerability. In December11 again 14 agencies went for next course of situation analysis in close consultation with the affected communities. It was revealed that due to weak economic condition and crop/livestock loss affected people were forced to live under the sun with worst sanitation situation. Negative coping mechanisms among the affected population were prevalent. Incidence like taking high interest loan to feed the family members, selling of productive assets, polluted water spreading water borne diseases were rampant. Responding to this humanitarian need, in lead of Oxfam GB, 6 international NGOs (Care International, Concern World Wide, Islamic Relief, Solidarites International, Oxfam GB and Action Aid) worked through NARRI (National Alliance for Risk Reduction and Response Initiative) consortium for constructing 12,073 shelters and same number of latrines for the households that completely lost their dwellings in 2011 flood. The project valued at 10 Million GBP, generously funded by UKAid from the British People, was termed as Flood REsistant SHelter for South-West Region of Bangladesh (FRESH) Result chain presented bellow briefly illustrates the projects commitment:

Gareth Price-Jones, Country Director, Oxfam in Bangladesh
The South-western part of Bangladesh has been historically known for its beautiful landscapes, diverse crops and abundance of fish. Unfortunately, it is increasingly becoming known for its worsening disasters. The flood and water-logging that started in July/August of 2011 broke all previous records, submerging vast areas of Satkhira and Jessore districts and leaving approximately 18,500 families, over 90,000 women, men and children, homeless. In all, almost a million people were affected. It took between three and five months (depending on the areas) for floods to recede. The luckiest among the homeless families were able to get temporary accommodation in public/communal buildings such as schools, clinics and Union Parishad (local government) offices, while the majority erected simple shelters on the sides of the road from bamboo and plastic sheeting. Loss, shortages of food, safe water and hygiene and sanitation facilities posed great risks to the flood victims but despite this, media coverage was almost non-existent, and there was no major immediate humanitarian response. Without a global outcry, it was possible to mobilise only very basic levels of support mainly from the Bangladesh Government and, to a lesser extent, by NGO sources. The NARRI Consortium of six International NGOs (Oxfam, Action Aid, Concern Worldwide, Solidarites, Care and Islamic Relief) believed more assistance was required, so as the waters finally receded we secured 10 million from UKAid from the British people to fund a flood resilient Sanitation and Shelter solution for 11,092 families who had seen their homes completely destroyed. To provide medium-term safety the project constructed basic flood-resistant shelters and latrines for these families, coupled with essential hygiene promotion education. For the longer term the project integrated strong advocacy work with the media, government and a wide range of other actors to seek and deliver durable solutions. The project was implemented in Tala, Satkhira Sadar and Devhata Upazillas of Satkhira district and Monirampur and Keshabpur Upazillas of Jessore district. Despite huge logistical, physical and managerial challenges, the NARRI consortium and five national NGOs worked in partnership with communities and local government to successfully deliver the project on time and on budget. With savings made during the project, and exchange rate gains the project was, in less than a year, able to deliver 12,073 shelters, 9% more than was initially planned for. Despite the transformational positive impact for the families concerned, from a big picture perspective this is no happy ending. Even with a more successful outcome than wed dared hope for, the project reached only around 65% of those who had lost their homes, and flooding/waterlogging in these areas will continue to worsen. Our advocacy effort continues to seek diverse and lasting policy solutions for the over 30 million people who survive in Bangladeshs coastal zones, but this is a problem that can only be addressed through a combination of investment, effective local management and through global action on climate change. This photo album captures photos taken in the working area during the life cycle of the project. It portrays the suffering, commitment and joy of those the project reached, while offering an insight of the scale and complexity of the problems yet to be solved. A very special thanks to Peter Caton in helping us to document the program and the lives it has impacted upon.

Flood REsistant SHelter and Sanitation for South-West Region of Bangladesh (FRESH Project) funded by UKAid from the British people and was implemented by NAARI Consortium ( with direct participation of the following organizations

Gareth Price-Jones, Oxfam Country Director, February 2013

NAARI deeply acknowledges the suffering caused to the beneficiaries during the course of shelter construction; thats why this photo album is dedicated to the inhabitants of 12,073 shelters without whose constant support and trust, this timely and quality completion of the project would have been far MORE difficult.

During the months of July-August 2011, heavier than usual monsoon rain caused flooding in many parts of the country. This devastating flood affected nearly 13 districts out of 64 in the country. Among these, three south-west coastal districts i.e. Khulna, Jessore and Satkhira were the worst hit and experienced prolonged water logging situation for more than 6 months that eventually resulted in 250,000 internally displaced population. The Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) estimated that over 725,000 people in Satkhira (the worst affected area) were affected by the flooding. In Jessore, the government estimated around 135,000 people was affected. Water logging in that year ultimately left 18,500 families homeless in those two districts.


Image of the devastated village on the Kabodak river. This is one of the many tributaries in the South West of Bangladesh that annually bursts its banks due to the build up of silts on the river bed. (facing page) Three generations together: Portrait of Rahima (centre), her mother and son in their makeshift shelter after their home was destroyed in the annual flooding.

We had 4 sticks of bamboo and a bit of old material to make a home. Everything else was lost in the flood Rahima , 35.

Minaz Uddin Biswas, 44, tries collecting drinking water from a flooded tube well. Access to safe drinking water becomes a difficult challenge during water logging. (facing page) Flooding leaves nothing untouched: a broken ceramic bowl in the flood water.



During water logging, even studies stop. Children walking away from their flooded school. (facing page) Sayra Begam, 28, with her only son at a makeshift shelter on elevated ground. Everything she owned was washed away in the flood.



Portrait of Yeakub-Ali Gazi , 85 (left) , a resident of Kanaidia village & Amena Bibi, 53 (right), with grandchild in the same village. (facing page) Ninety-three year old Suforjan stands stranded by her flooed home in the village of Kanaidia


Since I was a small girl I saw changes in our environment, but in the last 10 years, the changes were rapid. Day by day the situation is getting worse. God only knows what will happen to us all Suforjan Bibi, 93


A house stands on inundated land. (facing page) Bocha , 12, inside his toilet which is constructed with few bamboo sticks and some materials that he found on the road side. The toilet becomes flooded with water during the monsoon, making sanitation a major problem in the area.



A mother and her child in flood water beside their destroyed home. (facing page) Fatima, 23 and her husband Razib in their makeshift candlelit home. Almost 60% of Bangladeshis have no access to electricity, one of the highest figures in the world.


Before getting the new shelter we were floating around Fatima Shaheb, 24.


An old women tries to cross a makeshift bridge during a tidal surge. During the monsoon, logistics became a major challenge for the FRESH project. (facing page) Profullo, 84 and his wife Khukhu, 72, at their home in Khanpur village. The foundations of their home are not sufficiently elevated.


After cyclone Sidr (2007) , the rapid changes in the environment started and every year we now have floods Prafullo, 84.


Bricks and sand for building shelters stand abandoned in the flood water. (facing page) physically challenged Reshma, 34, isolated in her home, which is extremely vulnerable to the rising flood water.


I can not move alone; so, when the water starts rising it makes me frightened to death Reshma, 34.



UK-Aid from the British people funded a 10 million GBP project to provide housing solution to 11,092 families who had their shelters completely destroyed. The project aimed at constructing flood resistant shelters and hygienic latrines for these families along with hygiene promotion education and advocacy with national, regional and local levels of Government for durable solutions to water-logging. The project was implemented in Tala, Satkhira Sadar and Devhata Upazillas of Satkhira district and Monirampur and Keshabpur Upazillas of Jessore district. A consortium of 6 international NGOs with 5 national NGO partners successfully completed the project against all odds. With savings and gains from currency exchange the Consortium was able to reach 9% more families (12,073) than the project planned for.


Local labourers constructing a FRESH Shelter in Kanaidia village. (facing page ) Mohammed Ali helps his community by collecting mud to build the foundations of a FRESH Shelter. Previous page Community consultation is a critical part of the FRESH project.



Sima Ratri, 8, plays with the mud while her father Mofizul, builds the plinth. Mofizul will be paid the work he carries out. (facing page) Shahida, 25, with her children stand on the plinth that they have built. They are now ready for a flood resistant shelter to be built.


I lived by the roadside before my home was built and I sent my children to live with relatives, now I can live with my children again Shahida, 25.


A man walks past his completed FRESH shelter. (facing page) Khuibanu, 62, sits in her completed FRESH shelter with flood water around. Before her new home was built, she was forced to live on the roadside during the floods.


I finally found happiness when I received this house Khuibanu, 62.


Minaz Uddin Biswas uses a boat to move around his flooded village. (facing page) FRESH project beneficiary Firoza 36, is one of thousands of families that have received a flood resistant shelter.



A villigers hands after completing the building of a plinth to elevate his flood resistant shelter. (facing page) Standing at the window of her new FRESH home, Jarina, 45, laughs with relief after finally receiveing the home she desperately needed.


I used to worry that my children were not safe but in our new home I know they are safe Jarina, 45



These shelters have become the most precious gift that this group of people has ever received. Provision of a durable shelter has not only ensured better living and space for education of children; it has also significantly elevated the social status of the recipient families.


(left) Anjuara and her family in their new FRESH home for the first time. (right) Anjuara can barely contain her excitement as she looks through the window of her new home. (facing page) The project encourages participation of the beneficiaries, to build their own plinth for which they were paid for their work they carried out. Anjuara received 3000 Tk ($38) for her work. Previous page A pathway towards the rainbow, amidst the water around.

The money that I received against my labor had been very helpful to support my family during times of unemployment. I used the money for food and my childrens schooling. My daughter is now top of her class! Anjuara, 37.
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Ready to move into his new home - FRESH beneficiary Nirmal Das, 48, holds his registration card, house lock & keys. (facing page) An Oxfam worker talks to the local residents about their responsibility in maintaining the shelters they received from the project.



Bocha , 12, stands beside their new elevated toilet with the previously flood vulnerable toilet to the right. He now doesnt have to worry about water contamination due to a waterlogged toilet. (facing page) Chayarani , 34, helping her son with his homework. Many FRESH beneficiaries claim their childrens school attendance and progress has risen dramatically since moving into their new shelters.


My son has improved at school since we have received this new shelter Chayarani, 34.


Ninetynine year old Mohammed Abubakar at prayer in his FRESH shelter. (facing page) Mohammed Abubakar, 99, and his wife Safura, 76 sit together on the plinth of their FRESH shelter. He is happy that he can live the rest of his life in the comfort of a flood resistant home.

Until my last breathe I can happily live in this new home Mohammed Abubakar, 99.
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Shahida, 25, with her three children in their new FRESH shelter. Shahida and her family were living in a tent by the roadside before she was given this shelter. (facing page) Chayarani , 34, uses her FRESH shelter as a space for tailoring. She now has an effective space for running her business.

Before I had my new home, I could not work and earn money Chayarani , 34.
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Sima Ratri stands on her bed, happy and relieved - anticipating a brighter future ahead. (facing page) Looking forward to a more secure future from her new home, Basoki , 23 with her two children.

During the flood I had to stay in a tent and my children used to get sick, but now in this new home Im happy as we can live safely and without suffering Basoki, 23.
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Portrait of Khuibanu, 62, in her newly built FRESH shelter. A boy stands in a flooded swamp that surrounds villagers in Kanaidia village. Residents complain that the green water vegetation causes skin irritations.



Peter Caton

Documentary Photographer

I It has been a great honor for me to share in the joy felt by this community as a result of the new homes built during the FRESH project. When I first visited the area in April 2012, there was a real sense of despair and suffering. 8 months later, the villagers have new homes and a renewed spirit. I would like to thank all the people who allowed me into their lives and gave me the opportunity to share their tears of pain, relief and happiness. It was truly humbling for me to learn of their resolve, spirit & strength in the face of such adversity. To see first hand, the joy these new homes have given to the people of this area, is testament to the tireless work and compassion of everyone involved in the FRESH project. The project has surpassed every expectation and helped to secure a future for everyone. About Peter Caton. British born photographer Peter Caton has been a professional for 15 years and specialises on climate change and HIV related issues in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world.

Production Credits Kieran Bell 93 media Redscar Creative


Special Thanks Kaiser Rejve Golam Sarower Azam Safwat Hossain Himel Sanjib Kisku Abdul Quayyum Abdur Rouf