Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The ground breaking works of US government funded seven Multi-Purpose Cyclone Shelters (MPCSs) in Cox’s Bazar began on Wednesday.

These ground breaking sites include Shahparirdip Pashchim Utter Para, Shahparirdip Dakshin Para, Hamidia, Habi Mohammed Hussein, Kutupalong, Gooliaplanag and Haladia Patabari, a US embassy press statement said in Dhaka.

These seven MPCSs funded by the U.S. government, through the U.S. Pacific Command, will be used as school cum shelter centers as schools, each MPCS can accommodate 120 students and can shelter up to 1,200 people during natural disasters, a U.S. embassy press statement said.

These humanitarian assistance projects are part of a 2009 agreement between the USG and the Bangladesh government providing US$2.1 million to construct Multi-Purpose Cyclone Shelters and bridges, according to the statement.  

In addition to these seven shelters, there are also 23 MPCSs and four bridges now under construction in cyclone Sidr-affected areas of Khulna and Barisal.

The United States government has provided more than $5.5 billion in development assistance to the South Asian country since independence.

Immediately after cyclone Sidr, the United States government provided $31.2 million in emergency food assistance and $6.5 million for non-food emergency relief activities.  

The U.S. also is providing $80 million in cyclone assistance for emergency relief, rehabilitation, and sustainable development in poor and vulnerable Cyclone affected areas (including villages and chars).  

“The continuing assistance reflects the U.S. commitment to helping build a brighter tomorrow for Bangladesh’s most vulnerable citizens,” the U.S. embassy added.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-21January10-11:41 am (BST)