A study on earthquake preparedness in schools in Dhaka North city corporation
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Bangladesh is one of the most populous and disaster prone countries in the world. Bangladesh is exposed to floods and cyclones, and the risk of other disasters such as drought, earthquakes, and tornados is increasing. The recent occurrences of earthquakes in the region have brought to stark light the need for preparedness for earthquake in various sectors in the country. Children are a dynamic and powerful force of change and form the demographic dividend and future of a country. The impact of a disaster especially like earthquake has a profound impact on the psyche of the whole generation. While children are at homes with their families, there is a familiar support and security that is available to them. It is imperative that similar is available to them while they are in school. The research aims to explore the preparedness measures adapted by the schools in response to earthquake and to review the policy on disaster preparedness in schools in Bangladesh. The study also aims to understand the perception of stakeholders on their expectation of earthquake preparedness in schools. An assessment of Schools, students and guardians was conducted by visiting the schools and organising completion of questionnaires by the respondents. The findings were complemented by secondary data collection and interviews with other stakeholders (government, NGOs, donors, experts etc). While there is momentum in the sphere of earthquake preparedness in the country, there is room for improvement in awareness raising and training on preparedness for schools. A section of schools are not under the purview of Government or any other body for implementation of such measures. A streamlined coordinated preparedness and awareness raising programme for earthquake preparedness in school is the need of the hour. Parents/guardians, students should discuss proactively with school authorities to ensure preparedness measures are implemented and in place.