DHAKA Bangladesh, still struggling to overcome the devastating effects of cyclone Sidr late last year, will build 2,000 new storm shelters in 2008.
"Some 2,000 new cyclone shelters will be built in 15 low-lying coastal districts, which had been trampled by the November 15 cyclone," Food and Disaster Management Secretary Mohammad Ayub Miah told Reuters on Tuesday.
The worst cyclone since 1991 killed more than 3,300 people, made millions homeless and washed away around 1 million tons of rice, the country's main staple food.
The disaster-prone south Asian country of more than 140 million people currently has around 1,500 shelters, each capable of offering refuge to up to 5,000 people on average, officials said.
During storms and floods, people also take shelter in high-rise buildings, including schools.
Aid agencies say Bangladesh has made huge strides in reducing death tolls from the cyclones that batter its coastline every year due to improved preparedness measures.
These include advance warnings, quick removal of people from disaster areas and better rescue and relief operations.
Bangladesh's worst cyclone in 1991 killed around 140,000 people.
(Reporting by Ruma Paul; writing by Anis Ahmed; Editing by Alex Richardson)