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Spotlight 1 on Bangladesh

35

Spotlight map 1 Bangladesh is prone to disasters BANGLADESH

BANGLADESH

BANGLADESH

CYCLONE AFFECTED AREA

FLOOD AFFECTED AREA

EARTHQUAKE ZONES

Division capitals National capital Rivers Division boundaries International boundaries

High risk area (>1m surge) Risk area (<1m surge) High wind area (no surge) 88°E

91°E

BHUTAN

Zone 1, 0.08g BSC* Zone 2, 0.05g BSC

Flash flood

Zone 3, 0.04g BSC

91°E

BHUTAN

88°E

26°N

26°N

I N D I A

25°N

25°N

25°N

Rajshahi

nge

gh Me

24°N

na

24°N

23°N

23°N

BARISAL

BARISAL

BARISAL Chittagong

50 Miles 89°E

22°N

s Mouths

0

Bay of Bengal

MYANMAR 21°N

Source: SPARRSO. 90°E

91°E

92°E

21°N

Kaptai Lake

e of th

e Gang

s Mouths

50 Kilometers

0

50 Miles

0

Bay of Bengal

MYANMAR 21°N

Source: BWDB. 89°E

90°E

91°E

92°E

21°N

e of th

e Gang

s

50 Kilometers

0

50 Miles

Bay of Bengal

MYANMAR 21°N

Source: GSB. 89°E

90°E

91°E

92°E

Source: Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization, Bangladesh Water Development Board, Geological Survey of Bangladesh.

percent (844 billion cubic meters) is between May and October, and more than 80 percent of the rain falls between June and September. Unlike violent cyclones, flood waters rise slowly but inexorably and turn deadly only when everything is submerged. Even if people survive by clinging to trees and rooftops, they may later starve if their livestock drown; so men often stay back with their cattle and evacuate reluctantly. This habit serves people poorly in coastal districts where sudden storm surges wash away those who do not heed the warnings to evacuate.

Traditional adaptation Why has this hazard-prone delta been populated for centuries? Because the settling silt makes the land very fertile. People grew rice and jute, accommodating the river’s seasonal rhythm. Long-stalked rice varieties that survive the post-monsoon floods beginning in June constitute the aman crop. The aus crop is planted in the premonsoon months of March and April and harvested during July and August. And the boro crop is planted in the dry season and harvested in March-April (later for high-yielding varieties). Farmers choose rice varieties best suited to their local area’s rainfall and flood patterns, and build their houses (plinth heights) as safely as their budgets and technology permit. The 1947 partition put some jute mills in India, and the movement of goods and people across the border largely stopped: jute’s importance continued to decline as synthetic fibers replaced it, and rice remains the main crop.

Prevention: Expensive embankments . . . The 1970s and 1980s were deadly (spotlight figure 1). Various flood abatement schemes were proposed: the Master Plan of 1964 called for massive embankments preferred by the engineers

IBRD 37882 AUGUST 2010

0

e of th

23°N

Chittagong

50 Kilometers

24°N

CHITTAGONG

Barisal

Kaptai Lake

22°N

e Gang

a

Khulna

CHITTAGONG

Barisal Kaptai Lake

Chittagong

g hn

KHULNA

23°N

Khulna

CHITTAGONG

22°N

Mouths

Me

INDIA KHULNA

23°N

Khulna Barisal

DHAKA

Dhaka

INDIA KHULNA

0

Rajshahi

24°N

Dhaka

INDIA

21°N

SYLHET J a mu na

24°N

25°N

Sylhet

RAJSHAHI

s

na

Dhaka

23°N

25°N

Ga

s

gh Me

25°N

DHAKA

J a mu na

nge

Ga

s

Rajshahi

26°N

SYLHET

DHAKA

J a mu na

Ga

nge

26°N

IN DIA

Sylhet

RAJSHAHI

SYLHET

24°N

91°E

BHUTAN

IN DIA

Sylhet

RAJSHAHI

BANGLADESH

* Basic Seismic Coefficient 88°E

26°N

Normal flood

Profile for World Bank Group Publications

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Earthquakes, droughts, floods, and storms are natural hazards, but unnatural disasters are the deaths and damages that result from human act...

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