Basic Information Bangladesh is a relatively poor country with GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,500 (2009 est.) It is basically a large floodplain & delta formed by deposition from the major rivers that flow through it. The fact that is floods has brought benefits such as fertile land and reliable water supplies. It is increasingly a problem though as the population increases. It lacks resources such as minerals & metals due to the way it was formed. It has a population of about 156 million.
Human causes of Flooding Deforestation in Himalayan areas (N. Bangladesh, Nepal & India) – fuel, building material → ↓ interception & ↑ surface runoff, ↑ soil erosion. Increasing populations → ↑ urbanisation → ↑ impermeable surfaces → ↑ surface runoff & ↑ speed of runoff. Human influences on erosion nearer the sources of the rivers is causing increased issues from deposition in Bangladesh. Lack of money leads to poor investment in flood defences (building of new ones & maintenance of existing ones). Climate change attributed to human activity is raising sea levels which increases storm surge flooding events.
Physical causes of flooding Monsoon rains – wet season (May-Sep). Snow melt from the Himalayas in the summer months. Low lying land → storm surges cause flooding from the sea. 3 major rivers (Ganges, Brahmaputra & Meghna) converge in Bangladesh if they are in peak flow then they are likely to flood here. Bangladesh is essentially one large floodplain. Formed by deposition from these rivers, Bangladesh is very flat → large areas flood when a river bursts its banks. Continued deposition ↓ river channels capacity & increases likeliness of flooding.
Effects 57% of land flooded. Rice crops destroyed & livestock drowned → subsequent food shortages & ↑ prices. Drinking water supplies contaminated → spread of cholera & dysentery. Also a severe shortage of drinkable water. 7 million homes destroyed & 25 million made homeless. Almost $1 billion of damage people killed. Severe damage to infra-structure (factories, roads, schools, water) leading to decreased economic output.
Solutions In 1989 the government of Bangladesh began working with a number of international agencies to produce a Flood Action Plan. This huge scheme contained 26 action points which it was hoped would provide a long term solution to the country's flooding problems.
Short Term Management Boats to rescue people Emergency supplies for food, water, tents and medicines Fodder for livestock Repair and rebuild houses, as well as services such as sewage etc Aid from other countries Long Term Management Reduce Deforestation in Nepal & Himalayas Build 7 large dams in Bangladesh to store excess water $30-$40 million and 40 yrs to complete Build 5000 flood shelters to accommodate all the population Build 350km of embankment - 7 metres high at a cost of $6 billion to reduce flooding along the main river channels Create flood water storage areas Develop an effective Flood Warning Scheme