Design and adoption of household tornado shelters for Bangladesh

Yuichi Ono, Thomas W. Schmidlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Death tolls from tornadoes in Bangladesh are the highest in the world due to lack of storm warnings, poor communication, weak housing, and lack of shelters from strong winds in tornadoes and nor'westers. Based on surveys of housing types and designs in the Tangail district, a household tornado shelter is proposed to be placed in the elevated storage platform that is common in houses. The shelter is 2 m tall, 1.2 m wide, and 2-4 m long (4.8-9.6 m3 in volume) with the floor of the shelter placed one meter below the floor of the house. Walls are 7-10 cm thick and made of concrete or an earthen wall stabilized with cement or strengthened with bamboo or bricks. A survey of 200 residents of the region found nearly universal acceptance for the shelter design, and residents were eager for installation of the household shelters. The shelter cost is 2,500-10,000 taka (US$50 to $200) depending on local material and labor costs but residents were willing to pay an average of only 1,071 taka (US$21) toward the cost of the shelter. Families with greater income and land holdings and families in villages with recent tornado experience were willing to spend more for a shelter. A pilot project to install household tornado shelters in selected villages and monitor their use, along with continued efforts to issue storm warnings, communicate the warnings, and improve education about storm hazards, will prevent injuries and save lives in Bangladesh and reduce the descent into poverty that results from losses in severe local storms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan


  • Bangladesh
  • Hazards
  • Shelter
  • Storm
  • Tornado
  • Wind


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