Published:  05:46 AM, 23 November 2019

Bangladesh is a global leader in disaster management and risk reduction

Bangladesh is a global leader in disaster management and risk reduction

Natural disaster means any natural event which has an adverse socio-economic impact on the human being. WHO defined natural disaster as "It is an occurrence disrupting the normal conditions of existence and causing a level of suffering that exceeds the capacity of adjustment of the affected community". It is unexpected and unfortunate events those frequently interrupt on country's economic and social development.

Natural disaster can be identified into three broad groups such as atmospheric disaster caused by atmospheric processes e.g. Bulbul, storm, cyclone, nor 'ester, tornado, hurricane, and drought etc. An extreme natural event, such as a Cyclone, Flood that is not caused by human beings.

Very recent Severe Cyclonic Storm Bulbul was a strong tropical cyclone which struck Vietnam and the Indian state of West Bengal as well as Bangladesh in November 2019, bringing storm surge, heavy rains, and flash floods. Bulbul formed on October 28 and made landfall on Vietnam on October 30. Bulbul's remnants entered the Andaman Sea. It began to organize over the southern Bay of Bengal in early November, Bulbul slowly intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm.

It is only the fourth tropical cyclone ever recorded to regenerate over the Andaman Sea, having crossed Southeast Asia overland (thus sharing with the name Bulbul in operational JTWC advisories). At least 4,589 trees were damaged under the influence of Cyclone Bulbul in Sundarbans, according to a report prepared by Bangladesh Forest Department.

No information could be determined about any wildlife being affected by the cyclone, said the report which was sent to the BFD head office in Dhaka. Meanwhile, infrastructure worth Tk 62.58 lakh was damaged in the Sundarbans due to the cyclone Bulbul.

These are naturally occurring phenomena that only become hazardous due to the intervention of human infrastructure. The vulnerability of human infrastructure to destruction (risk) by a disaster is also an important factor in understanding natural disaster. The distribution and impact of natural disaster is unequal with greatest loss of life and property in the developing part of the world.

Devastating cyclones hit the coastal areas of Bangladesh almost every year usually accompanied by high-speed winds, causing extensive damage to life, property and livestock. Tornado is a very short-lived disturbance which may last 10-20 minutes.

Although small in size, wherever they hit, they make a complete devastation. The geographical location, land characteristics, multiplicity of rivers and the monsoon climate render Bangladesh highly vulnerable to natural disaster. The coastal morphology of Bangladesh influences the impact of natural disaster on the area.

Bangladesh is an overpopulated and a disaster prone country in the south Asian region. This country has a long history of natural disaster. Climate induced disasters are recurrent and reduce the agricultural potentiality and undermine the ecosystem services such as the availability of clean water and fertile soil. People of Bangladesh are suffering from regular natural disaster. These disasters are having already led to the loss and destruction of housing, land and property, the loss of livelihoods and widespread displacement across the country.

Among the 64 districts of Bangladesh, 26 coastal and mainland districts have experienced climate displacement. Almost 60 hundred thousand people have been displaced from their home and land due to climate change. Over 35 million people will be displaced from 19 coastal districts in the event of a 1 meter sea level rise in this country.

Many people have already migrated to the urban slums form the coastal zones of Bangladesh due to frequent cyclones, storm surges and river erosion and so on. About 46% people are temporally displaced and 12% people permanently displaced due to different disaster in four climate hotspots of Bangladesh.

Nearly 60 percent of the population of Bangladesh relies on agriculture for their livelihoods. As the availability of arable lands declines and food production diminishes, the rural poor are, in many cases, forced to leave their rural homes and lands for urban areas and slums. On the other hand, it is repealed that due to the impact of climate change.

Disasters are the barriers of overall development. Each year natural disasters kill around 90000 people and affect close to 160 million people globally. Sustainable Development Goals SDGs focused on the integral development for the future, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognized the urgent need to reduce the disaster risk. International agency e.g UNDP, WB, and The IMF have long supported Bangladesh in addressing its vulnerability to disaster, for over two decades, they helped.

The government agencies should strengthen the existing climate change or disaster related laws, rules and policies and reviews and update these on the basis of the contemporary situation. The government should develop and Implement those by complying with the international rights related convention and national rights based laws and policies that ensure the effective protection of climate displaced communities in Bangladesh.

The disaster management vision of Bangladesh is to reduce the risk of people, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, from the effects of natural, environment and human induced disaster to a manageable and acceptable humanitarian level and to have in place an efficient emergency response management system.

In recent Bangladesh shift from reactive relief to proactive risk reduction.during the HPM Sheikh Hasina's government, usage of digital technology is over flashing, Space technology plays a crucial role in the efficient mitigation of disasters. Bangladesh achieved fully independent on communication satellites Bangabandhu-1, which is now helping disaster warning, relief mobilization, and telemedicine support.

The results are apparent in the fewer number of lives and livelihoods destroyed by recent natural disasters. Hence we also need other earth observation satellites, which will provide the required database for pre-disaster preparedness program, disaster response, monitoring activities and post-disaster damage assessment, and reconstruction, and rehabilitation. So, it would like to say, Today, Bangladesh is a global leader in disaster management and risk reduction.

The writer is a researcher, Faculty of Social Science, University of Dhaka.And Working as Evaluation and Documentation Officer, Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM). He can be reached at [email protected]

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