Summary of the Early Action Protocol (EAP)
Bangladesh is located at the north coast of the Bay of Bengal and is crisscrossed with more than 700 rivers. Ganges Brahmaputra and Meghna (GBM) is one of the world’s largest river system which meets the Bay of Bengal. However, it poses a threat to the country as it results in river flooding and riverbank erosion. The coast of Bangladesh is funnel shaped which has made the country vulnerable to severe cyclones and storm surges. Over the past years, cyclones have affected the life and livelihoods of a million people living in and around the coastal communities of Bangladesh.
According to historical data of Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) in New Delhi, from 1891 to 2015, 89 cyclones have made landfall at the Bangladesh coast among which 47 per cent were Cyclonic Storms (CS) and 53 per cent were Severe Cyclonic Storms (SCS). Historically, the Bay of Bengal has witnessed many cyclones causing enormous disruptions, damages and a remarkable number of casualties. The population is vulnerable to cyclones associated with tidal surge particularly in the pre-monsoon months of April-May and post-monsoon months of October November.
With the effect of global warming and climate change, Bangladesh is one of the worst affected countries. Every year sea level is rising at a very slow rate and as a result salinity intrusion is becoming a concerning issue due. With the change of climate, severe cyclone is also occurring very frequently which is affecting not only the life and livelihoods but also hampering economic growth of the country.
Cyclone is not only causing human and livestock casualty it also causes people to migrate. After the cyclone “Sidr” in 2007 and cyclone “Aila” in 2009, a large amount of people had to change their occupation and move to different cities for their livelihoods. Cyclone also causes the storm surge which is more devastating for a longer time. After cyclone “Aila” the coastal polder (embankment) were broken, and the saline water enter into the vast area which remain for a longer period causing widespread damage for agriculture, livestock and livelihoods.
The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) has been assisting the coastal communities who are exposed to cyclone for many years to save livelihoods and relieve the suffering and working to build resilient communities. From December 2018, with support from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), German Red Cross (GRC) and Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC)
Climate Centre, BDRCS has been actively participating to reduce the impact of cyclone on the vulnerable people of 13 sea facing coastal districts. Using pre-defined mechanism, the Early Action Protocol (EAP), the scientific trigger, cyclone impact map developed by the Forecast based Financing (FbF) technical team, BDRCS could allocate humanitarian aid to the high forecasted impact areas before cyclone strikes.
On 16 May 2020, a disturbance was formed in the Bay of Bengal near Andaman and Nicobar Islands. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) named the cyclonic storm as “Amphan” (pronounced as “UMPUN”) which is the first super cyclone after the 1999 Odisha cyclone in the region. The FbF technical team generated monitoring report and impact-based forecasting on every three hours. BMD forecasted on 18 May 2020 that the cyclone turned in to a super cyclonic storm and had a probability to landfall in Bangladesh. Based on the RSMC and BMD forecast track, the FbF technical team prepared an impact map for 13 seas facing districts. Based on the EAP guidelines and forecast impact, it was above 25 per cent of the impact threshold. BDRCS with the support from IFRC, GRC and Climate Centre activated the cyclone EAP for taking early actions to reduce human sufferings.
Cyclone Amphan caused havoc to the community and household infrastructures and caused further harm to the lives and livelihoods of the people which was already constrained by COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) prepared 12,078 cyclone shelters in coastal regions. As per government record, more than 2.4 million people were evacuated, with the help of CPP, BDRCS, Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD), Police, Armed Forces, and other organizations, to 14,636 permanent and temporary shelters in 19 coastal districts before the cyclone hit the country's coast. According to the SoS form data of the GoB, cyclone Amphan impacted around 19 districts over the country. Out of these 19 districts, eight districts were among the worst impacted range (from moderate to severe impacts associated with all physical dimensions of the cyclone). Total 154 unions under 34 upazilas (sub-districts) were inundated and 2.6 million peoples were affected. 26 people died in the country due to Amphan. More than 200,000 houses have been fully/ partially damaged; particularly in Satkhira, Jashore, Khulna, Barguna, Bagerhat, Patuakhali, Bhola and Pirojpur districts. With houses damaged and destroyed, people have lost their habitat and the living conditions (sharing space in communal shelters) were not sufficient to maintain reasonable social distance considering the COVID19 pandemic. Around 51,000 hectares crop and vegetable, and prawn and fish cultivation areas were damaged, around 74 per cent households’ food stocks have been destroyed or damaged. 68 per cent agricultural land have been inundated by tidal surge and by saline water. Some 59 per cent of moderate to severe damage on livestock and fisheries production in the affected districts. Cyclone Amphan has destroyed a total of 440 kilometers of road and 76 kilometers of embankment of the coastal area. In the WASH sector, there were 40 thousand toilets and near about 18 tube-well damaged and fully destroyed. 44 per cent educational institutes were fully or partially damaged.