Cyclone aila and post-disaster housing assistance in Bangladesh

Sebak Kumar Saha*, Chris Ballard

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper examines the processes and outcomes of a post-disaster housing assistance program delivered by an NGO, Islamic Relief Bangladesh (ISRB), in one of the villages worst affected by Cyclone Aila in Bangladesh in 2009. The findings, based on both qualitative and quantitative data collected in the field, reveal that the selection of the most suitable beneficiaries for housing aid was subject to undue influence from both elected and unelected leaders. A broad tendency on the part of ISRB to deliver houses through a top-down approach left little room for meaningful consultation with local people. The recipients thus felt excluded and became passive recipients. Although ISRB adopted a ‘build back better’ principle in the delivery of the housing assistance, the capacity of the new houses to withstand a severe cyclone remains limited. Despite some unhappiness with the process through which the housing was delivered, and dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the houses, most recipients were satisfied overall as they would have been unable to build houses of the same quality by themselves due to their poverty. These findings should be of direct value for relevant government agencies, NGOs, and donor agencies in the future delivery of more successful outcomes in post-disaster contexts in Bangladesh and elsewhere.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8604
    JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
    Issue number15
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


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