Cyclone Sidr struck the southern coastal districts of Bangladesh in November 2007, taking more than 3,000 lives and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and destitute. The cyclone destroyed crops, farming equipment, fishing boats, and disrupted the local people’s livelihoods.
In the wake of the devastating cyclone, WorldFish led the Building Climate-Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods in Bangladesh (CREL) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to reestablish and enhance the productive capacity of affected fish, shrimp and prawn farms. WorldFish partnered with 15 non-governmental organizations to support the efforts of 46,500 aquaculture households toward restoring their productive potential.
The households targeted were the poorest, those headed by women and those most dependent on aquaculture. To support the farmers to restart their livelihoods for the next aquaculture cycle, the project supplied starter packs consisting of fish fry and pond management ingredients including lime and fertilizer.
In order to improve post-disaster intervention strategies, WorldFish also analyzed affected farmers’ coping strategies. This provided a clearer understanding of how institutional support mechanisms, assets, livelihoods, the magnitude of damage and the coping ability of disaster victims jointly affected farms’ recovery of productive capacity.
To reduce risk and build resilience, the study identified a number of potential improvements that will strengthen aquaculture’s contribution to rehabilitating communities affected by disasters. A study of the approaches used by 11 partner non-governmental organizations determined best practices for post-disaster intervention and helped develop a tool for selecting partners and identifying specific areas for capacity building during implementation.