Case study: Bangladesh

People attempt to stay dry over flood waters in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka

Bangladesh is a developing country in Asia and it is frequently affected by flooding. For example, in 2007 flooding made 9 million people homeless and approximately 1,000 people died from drowning and from waterborne diseases.

Causes of flooding in Bangladesh

  • Cyclones cause coastal flooding.
  • Lots of low-lying land.
  • Melt water from the Himalayas.
  • Heavy deforestation.
  • Heavy monsoon rains.
  • Increasing urban areas.

What has Bangladesh done to cope with flooding?

Bangladesh is a very poor country and so has less money to spend on flood defences than richer countries. Most people in Bangladesh do not earn enough to pay for insurance against flooding, so when there are floods they risk losing everything.

Short-term responses to flooding

  • Food aid from the Government and other countries.
  • Water purification tablets.
  • People repaired embankments and helped to rescue people.
  • Free seed given to farmers.

Long-term responses

  • Building embankments.
  • Building raised flood shelters.
  • Introducing flood warning systems.
  • Emergency planning.
  • Dams planned.
  • Reducing deforestation.

Unfortunately, many of these long-term responses are difficult to pay for and maintain. They are not always successful and don't always help enough people.