Purpose: Development of effective disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies for communities at risk of being affected by natural disasters is considered essential, especially in the wake of devastating disaster events reported worldwide. As part of a wider research study investigating community perspectives on existing and potential strategies for enhancing resilience to natural disasters, community perspectives on infrastructure and structural protection requirements were investigated. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: Patuakhali region in South-Western Bangladesh is a region significantly at risk of multiple natural hazards. In order to engage local communities and obtain their perspectives, focus group discussions were held with local community leaders and policy makers of at-risk communities in Patuakhali region, South-Western Bangladesh. Findings: Infrastructure and structural protection requirements highlighted included multi-purpose cyclone shelters, permanent embankments and improved transport infrastructure. Much of the discussions of focus group interviews were focused on cyclone shelters and embankments, suggesting their critical importance in reducing disaster risk and also dependence of coastal communities on those two measures. Originality/value: The research design adopted sought to answer the research questions raised and also to inform local policy makers on community perspectives. Local policy makers involved in DRR initiatives in the region were informed of community perspectives and requirements, thus contributing to community engagement in implementing DRR activities.