Press releases

ShelterBox getting emergency shelter to people left homeless in cyclone-hit Bangladesh  

An emergency response team is in Bangladesh after severe flooding left hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

17 June 2024

A lady walks through knee high water carrying a pot

Press release – 17 June

An emergency response team from ShelterBox is in Bangladesh after severe flooding left hundreds of thousands of people displaced following the most devastating cyclone to hit the country in recent years. 

More than 1.75 million people have been affected across the south of the country – including in displacement camps housing nearly a million Rohingya refugees. In some places, entire villages have become islands within the surrounding floodwaters. 

Emergency shelter is desperately needed, especially with the arrival of the monsoon season, with more than 170,000 homes damaged leaving people without anywhere to live. 

Emergency Response Manager for ShelterBox, Dave Raybould, has been visiting some of the worst affected communities in Bangladesh where people have been unable to return home.  

He says: “In some areas, there is very little that hasn’t been damaged by the flood water, so in the coming weeks we’ll be getting emergency shelter to people whose homes have been completely destroyed. 

“Homes here are typically made from mud bricks, timber, or bamboo and people have been left with very little and without the resources to repair or replace what they had. Many families are living out in the open by the side of the road, and so our focus is on making sure people have what they need to build emergency shelters.  

“Corrugated iron sheeting, timber, bamboo, rope and fixings will help them to do just that, and a small amount of cash will mean people can hire local tradespeople to help them build homes.” 

ShelterBox has experience responding to extreme weather and conflict in Bangladesh. It responded to Cyclone Sidr in 2007, flooding and the Rohingya crisis in 2017, and more recently monsoon flooding in 2019. 

For its latest response, ShelterBox is working in partnership with a local aid organisation called Uttaran that has experience working in cyclone-prone areas of southwestern Bangladesh. Together, and with local communities, they’ll distribute aid to people who need it most in Paikgacha, Dacope and Saronkhola. 

Getting aid to those who need it will be challenging. Warnings for flash floods remain in place. Tracks to the worst affected areas are narrow, so aid will need to be trucked to the nearest main road, with boats or electric carts used to get the aid to where it’s needed. 

As extreme weather gets worse, hits the same places more often, and lasts longer more and more people are being displaced in climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh. Recovering nations and communities that have contributed the least to the climate crisis are facing the brunt of more severe storms and flooding.  

Dave adds: “People living in this low-lying region of Bangladesh are affected by cyclones and extreme weather repeatedly.  

“As well as homes, people’s crops have been washed away or fishing boats destroyed, and some families are having to sell their livestock to get the water, food, and medicine they need. 

“Most people want to stay close to their communities and where they were living before – near their families and what’s left of their livelihoods. 

“We want to make sure that when people are building homes that they are able to withstand future extreme weather and so as part of our response Uttaran will be delivering training on how the aid items can be used as effectively as possible.” 

ShelterBox is rethinking disasters and changing the way it works, including how it prepares for a response before a disaster happens. Its preparedness work over the last twelve months has included a focus on Bangladesh, laying a foundation for responding by identifying potential partners with strong community networks and local warehousing. 

There has been extensive damage, but early warnings and timely evacuation helped keep the death toll low. There are still risks facing displaced people though. With people living out in the open, there are growing concerns over mosquitoes and the spread of disease and women and children are at increased risk of violence. 



For more information contact the press office at ShelterBox via [email protected].     

Notes to Editors     

  • Interviews available with emergency response team member, Jonty Ellaby.
  • Images and b-roll.