Text and photos by Stephen Ryan/IFRC, (unless otherwise stated)

In August 2017, violence in Rakhine, Myanmar, resulted in over 700,000 people fleeing to Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh. Two years on, families continue to live in makeshift shelters in crowded camps. The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is building new, stronger shelters, but are also helping families strengthen those they live in now.

In different parts of the camps, Red Crescent volunteers gather community members to discuss the best ways to strengthen these shelters against high winds and storms.

Volunteers share simple but specific advice on how ropes and tarpaulins can be best used to resist extreme weather. The idea is to avoid damage by strengthening shelters in advance, and to learn how best to carry out repairs following storms.

The sessions are held in community meeting spaces with the support of community leaders. Under the hot sun, the heat can be stifling. Hand fans provided by the Red Crescent help everyone keep the heat down. The fans have instructions printed in three languages, along with detailed pictures to help understand the best way to use the materials provided to secure shelters from high winds.

Abu Hanif is a Red Crescent Youth volunteer from the local branch in Cox’s Bazar. He works on the Bangladesh Red Crescent’s participatory approach to safe shelter awareness (PASSA) programme, helping displaced people better understand how to remain safe in their homes.

Bangladesh Red Crescent Society provide materials needed –rope, sacks to be fill with sand, and sometimes new bamboo and tarpaulins. Families complete the work themselves. (Photo by Brad Zerivitz/American Red Cross).