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Coastal flooding

Case study: coping with flooding in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is an LEDC. The land is densely populated [densely populated: Where the number of people per square kilometre is high. ]. Most of the land forms a delta [delta: A landform formed at the mouth of a river. ] from three main rivers - Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Twenty-five per cent of Bangladesh is less than 1 metre above sea level. Flooding is an annual event as the rivers burst their banks. Bangladesh also experiences many tropical cyclones [tropical storm: A low pressure system in the tropical latitudes which has high winds and rainfall. Can be called a cyclone or hurricane. ]. The low-lying land means it is easily flooded from the coastal waters.

Map of Bangladesh showing the main rivers

Map of Bangladesh showing the main rivers

Advantages to living in Bangladesh

  • The flat floodplains of the delta are very fertile [fertile: A soil which is rich in nutrients. ].
  • Rice is grown.

Disadvantages to living in Bangladesh

  • The low-lying islands are very vulnerable. They get flooded easily. It is difficult to protect them.
  • There are poor communications - many locals do not own their own telephone or television. It is difficult to get flood warnings out.

How can the risk of flooding be reduced?

Rice farmer in Bangladesh

Rice farmer in Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh is an LEDC - it therefore does not have money to implement large schemes.
  • It is always going to be threatened with flooding, so the focus is on reducing the impact.
  • The Flood Action Plan is funded by the World Bank. It funds projects to monitor flood levels, and construct flood banks/artificial levees [levee: Ridges or banks formed by deposits of alluvium left behind by the periodic flooding of rivers. Can also be artificially constructed banks or walls. ].
  • More sustainable ways of reducing the flooding include building coastal flood shelters on stilts and early warning systems.

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