This is not a list of messages to be read aloud to the community. Instead, field workers are encouraged to use this information to inform discussions with community members. These discussions should be as participatory as possible and allow time for questions and discussions of answers.
We encourage all field workers to:
Listen to the concerns and worries about cyclone early warning coming from communities. Cyclones can be a frightening concept and individuals may have different needs.
Start discussions using the advice on this sheet. Ask them what fears and challenges each individual or household faces in being able to follow the advice and listen closely to their replies.
If you do not know an answer to a question, it is ok to say “I don’t know.” Tell the individual or household members you are talking with that you will try to find an answer and will return to them with whatever information you have found.
Collect questions, concerns and information gaps that are not addressed by this sheet and report them to your supervisor.
Who will provide the community with a cyclone warning?
Warning the community of an approaching cyclone is the responsibility of the Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP). CPP Volunteers are males and females who wear bright ORANGE jackets.
CPP teams will work in support of the CiCs to:
• Disseminate early warning messages
• Support search and rescue operations and deliver immediate first aid
• Work with the CiC and relevant authorities to shift the injured if needed or manage any fatalities
• Serve as fire wardens and first responders to other hazards as required
Where else can I find out if a cyclone is coming?
Field workers can call 1090 to hear cyclone updates (in Bangla). The CiC, Mahjis and Imam’s will also be told if a cyclone has formed. If you cannot see any red and black flags, but you are worried a cyclone may be coming, you can ask them, or any CPP volunteer for information. Radio stations will also be playing regular warnings. If you have a radio, you can listen to Bangladesh Betar on 100.8FM or Naf on 99.2FM.
How does the CPP early warning system work?
• The CPP has trained volunteers in every camp
• The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) monitors cyclone activity and contacts CPP by mobile phone or handheld radio when they identify a cyclone forming that may affect the camp area
• CPP volunteers will use a ‘3 flag system’ (see below) to communicate the level of danger to the community.
• CPP early warning flags are red, with a black square in the middle. They are square and 2ft high by 2ft wide and will be displayed on a pole 18ft high. Make sure you know where in your camp the flags will be displayed.
What do I do if I see one flag?
One flag is the lowest level of warning. It does not mean that a cyclone is coming, it means that a storm has formed in a distant area that has the potential to develop into a cyclone. There is no need for panic, the storm might also get weaker and never turn into a cyclone. Keep listening for advice from CPP volunteers and bring your family together in your shelter. Be aware, storms may bring heavy rain and high winds, and could lead to flooding or landslides in the camp. If the storm moves away or weakens, then the flag will be removed. If a cyclone develops, 2 flags will be raised.
What to do if I see two flags?
If two flags are raised, you have approximately 24 hours until the cyclone arrives. Before this time, there may be heavy rain and strong winds. This is your time to prepare. Make sure your food is stored in a plastic container to keep it safe. Bring your family together at your shelter or another safe place. Make sure you have plan of where to meet if you are separated. Make sure loose objects are secured inside your shelter and your shelter is tied down as well as possible. Help those who might be more vulnerable to find shelter.
What do I do if I see three flags?
If 3 flags are raised, you have approximately 10 hours until the cyclone arrives. Before this time, there may be heavy rain and strong winds. Take shelter in your house and keep your family and children together with you. Make sure loose objects are secured inside your shelter and your shelter is tied down as well as possible. Help those who might be more vulnerable to find shelter.
What if my shelter is damaged by the storm before the cyclone hits?
If your shelter is damaged or unviable before the cyclone arrives, relocate to a neighbor’s shelter or another structure that is better prepared.
What if a cyclone approaches at night?
If a cyclone approaches or intensifies at night CPP volunteers will use megaphones and sirens to ensure the community receives the message and can prepare. The BMD will know about a cyclone several days before it will reach the camp so you will always have warning.