DHAKA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- A mega rehabilitation project touted as the world's largest is being implemented in Bangladesh to house tens of thousands of families called climate refugees.
The Bishesh Asrayan Prakalpa (special housing project), the brainchild of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, sprawls across 250 acres of land at Khurushkul on the outskirts of Bangladesh's seabeach town Cox's Bazar, some 392 km southeast of capital Dhaka.
In order to reduce poverty by providing housing and income generating activities for climate victims, officials said Hasina has been implementing the mega rehabilitation project as part of her government's pledge to free Bangladesh from poverty, hunger and homelessness.
Hundreds of thousands of people in the country have become victims of climate change in the recent years and have become "climate refugees" in their own country.
Bangladesh is currently facing with frequent floods, cyclones, prolonged dry season and erosion of river banks which make its traditional geographic places inhospitable to human habitation and secure livelihoods.
Under the project, Bangladeshi PM's Deputy Press Secretary Hasan Jahid Tusher told Xinhua Thursday that 139 buildings with 32 flats each will be built at khurushkul in Cox's Bazar to rehabilitate climate refugees who were displaced due to a devastating super cyclone in 1991.
"Such climate rehabilitation here is the world's first and it can be an example for other countries to follow," he said.
According to the official, a total of 4,408 people will be rehabilitated there by 2023.
At least 20 five-storey structures, each having 32 flats, with all basic amenities have already been constructed in the first phase of the project.
Hasina Thursday inaugurated the structures through a videoconference from her official Gono Bhaban residence.
At least 600 families got their new abodes with all modern facilities in the structures which are equipped with a ramp system for people with disabilities, solar panels, safe drinking water, electricity, sanitation, waste management, drainage, cylinder gas and burners.
"Six hundred families who have been rehabilitated now will have a new dreams of life," Tusher said.
"With this rehabilitations programme Bangladesh once again proved the country enhanced its capacity related with climate change."
The Project's Director Md Mahbub Hossain said projects like this are rarely seen anywhere in the world.
"So far we understand this is the largest rehabilitation program for climate victims in the world," he said and added Ban Ki-moon, chairman of the Global Commission on Adaptation Chairman, has also toured the project site in southeastern Bangladesh which fights well the adverse effects of climate changes in line with Hasina's pledge to eliminate homelessness in the country. Enditem