Meet Mr. Anwar Ali, Mayor of Kushtia city, Bangladesh

What are the major challenges faced in Kushtia City in the context of heavy rainfall?

Kushtia city experiences different challenges during heavy rainfall. Some roads remain submerged for hours as the drainage system is overwhelmed by the large amount of water received. This causes traffic congestion. In some cases, water enters into houses hampering the daily routine of residents. In extreme cases of rainfall, a significant number of pit latrines, especially in the slum areas overflow leading to contamination of surface water and an outbreak of health epidemics like diarrhea, dysentery and so on.

How has the collaboration with ICLEI South Asia (through the ACCCRN program) helped Kushtia understand its vulnerabilities and build its adaptive capacity to climate change?

Interacting with ICLEI South Asia through this project has significantly helped the municipality identify vulnerable groups and localities within the city, the type and categories of vulnerable people and urban systems as well as the extent and magnitude of vulnerability, what are the possible solutions, and so on. The workshops conducted, brought together different groups of Kushtia’s stakeholders giving us all a theoretical as well as practical perspective of the necessary steps that could be taken up to build the climate resilience of the city.

Please tell us about the pilot project that the city is implementing under the ACCCRN Small Grants Programme and how it will help Kushtia?

The project – Construction of RCC Drain and supporting road to save and improve the life standard of the people at Gorai Ashroyan Phase-2 – is being implemented by Kushtia Municipality under the ICLEI-ACCCRN Engagement Building Small Grants Fund of ICLEI-South Asia. The area selected for the project Gorai Ashroyan Phase-2 is extremely vulnerable to flooding, being a densely populated, low income settlement and located beside the embankment of the River Gorai. We hope that this project will significantly benefit the community (who was neglected before) in the form of better facilities, lowered risks of flooding, increased movement within and outside the settlement as well as giving the local economy a boost.

What is the city looking forward to after the success of the pilot projects?

After the success of this pilot project, Kushtia municipality is looking forward to working more closely with ICLEI South Asia in improving the standard of living of our citizens, especially of migrants, by building resilience to the impacts of climate change. We recognize that it is the poor who are the most impacted by climate change and would like to partner with ICLEI South Asia to enhance our capacity as well as tap into available funds that can help provide a safer and more secure future for our citizens.

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