United Nations Development Programme - Maldives
In the aftermath of the tsunami, the construction of a multi-purpose safe shelter designed to provide vertical evacuation in times of natural disasters began, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government. The safe shelter building in Muli Island in Meemu Atoll, funded by the UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) in partnership with UNDP at a total cost of USD 333,497.66, has been completed and was handed over to the island community on 9 June 2010.
The Muli safe shelter will serve as an Emergency Operations Centre in times of emergency, as well as a centre to provide shelter for the island population in the event of a 'natural' disaster. The facility is otherwise intended to be used for community activities.
“This shelter gives the people of Muli both a useful development resource, and a place of refuge in times of disaster,” Mr. Andrew Cox, UNDP Resident Representative said, speaking at the handover ceremony in Muli. “This important building should form the basis of an approach that reduces Muli’s exposure to risk, and increases the resilience of the community.”
Apart from channelling the benefits of organized mitigation activities, the safe shelter project, and the model it represents, can bring together resources through public and private-sector partnerships to design and implement projects that help communities reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters.
Handing over the building to the community, H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khalifa Al-Qamzi, General Secretary of the UAE Red Crescent, stated that this initiative was supported by the UAE people, and that assisting others in need is viewed as a national priority in the country.
The safe shelter building, on which future safe shelters on other islands can be modelled, complements the disaster preparedness activities that have taken place in the island in developing local capacities and skills for emergency response.
Natural disasters can take an enormous toll on development and pose a significant threat to prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, in particular the overarching target of halving extreme poverty by 2015. UNDP will continue to work in this critical development area, along with stakeholders, and engage in more careful and coherent planning to mitigate the impact of future disasters.