Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Fellow Since 2002
This profile was prepared when Dilip Banerjee was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Natural disasters are not always isolated events. In many areas of the world, floods, cyclones, and earthquakes occur cyclically, regularly destroying buildings, homes, and schools and causing hundreds, even thousands, of deaths. Starting in the cyclone-prone region of the Sunderbans in West Bengal, Dilip is enabling communities to use disaster management as a starting point from which to launch efforts to prioritize real needs and design programs that both strengthen communities for the long-term and further the aims of sustainable development. Dilip sees that this shift from reactionary disaster management, which is often wasteful and inefficient, to proactive organizing will enable communities to respond to future disasters quickly and efficiently. They can identify needs, take stock of relief resources, and direct the distribution of the right resourcesfood, clothing, blankets, medical suppliesto the people who most need them.