Bangladesh is frequently visited by disasters including tropical cyclones, storm surges, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and “norwesters.” Similarly, according to the Asia Disaster Reduction Centre (ADRC), the Philippines is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year . In areas with recurrent disasters in both countries, there is a need to build the disaster preparedness capabilities of communities. However, traditionally marginalized voices, including youth and children, women, persons with disabilities, the elderly, LGBTIQ+ individuals, religious minorities, and ethnic minorities, are often excluded from DRRM planning. As a result, communities’ plans and procedures are not responsive to the needs of all of their community members.
Recognizing the right of all individuals to meaningfully participate in the critical decisions that affect them , the ICDRM project helped to raise marginalized groups’ voices in community DRRM planning processes, ensuring these processes are open and inclusive. Plan International Bangladesh and Plan International Philippines have made significant breakthroughs for enhancing the community disaster preparedness in both countries. Series of simulations and evacuation drills have been organized in Bhola in Bangladesh and Occidental Mindoro in the Philippines involving active participation from all groups in the community. Both organizations also helped to communicate to the government about the needs of the communities as identified during the practices. As a result, in Bhola in Bangladesh and Occidental Mindoro in the Philippines, the plans and procedures that were developed better served the needs of the communities as a whole.
This chapter documents the interventions made by Plan International Bangladesh and Plan International Philippines in supporting community disaster preparedness under the ICDRM Project. Both organizations have provided various information, education, and communication (IEC) materials to raise the communities’ disaster awareness and preparedness, especially in battling COVID-19. Plan International Philippines also provided risk communication and community engagement to educate the public about COVID-19 by arranging public radio announcements.
The media covered the community disaster preparedness activities including drills and relevant events held in Bangladesh. In the Philippines, the Local Government selected Plan International Philippines as a member of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council through an official enactment. More project highlights are documented in the gallery.