Disaster Management Reference Handbook (2015) - Bangladesh

Executive Summary

This country book focusing on Bangladesh is intended to be a reference for individuals deploying to conduct disaster preparedness engagements or disaster response operations in Bangladesh, but it is not meant to be a checklist or manual for all disaster response operations. The research team conducted extensive research and analysis on existing Bangladesh plans, policies, and capabilities related to disaster management and risk reduction. The team also reached out to United States Government (USG) stakeholders and open source research to compile this book.

Bangladesh is at risk to a variety of disasters such as cyclones, earthquakes, drought, storm surge and flooding. In addition, they experience other hazards such as fires and infrastructure collapses.
The country is also vulnerable to climate change due to its location in South Asia. The government has made progress in preparing for much of these disasters through plans and policies by gradually shifting their disaster management approach to a comprehensive risk reduction methodology based on common disaster experiences, lessons learned, and the desire to reduce future impacts. The country has a well-established community preparedness capability due to the implementation of comprehensive education and training programs by government agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Disaster management committees have been established and trained at all administrative levels. These committees and volunteers communicate disaster alerts and evacuation instructions to coastal residents and assist with coordinating relief supplies.

Climate change is a concern for the country because 90 percent of it is only 10 feet above sea level.
An analysis was completed which found that high tides in Bangladesh were rising 10 times faster than the global average. It was predicted that the sea level in Bangladesh could rise as much as 13 feet by the year 2100, which places them four times higher than the global average. By 2050, almost 20 percent of the land will be inundated by the sea causing displacement for almost 20 million people. Many Bangladeshi people have already begun to move from low-lying villages near the Bay of Bengal. The government has adopted strategies and plans to address these climate change issues.
The country has a history of safety misfortunes in the garment and textile manufacturing. Building fires and collapses have killed almost two thousand workers over the past decade. The most recent incident in 2013 involved factories located at Rana Plaza, which collapsed killing nearly 300 people, making it the deadliest industrial accident. Findings uncovered show the building was not built with the proper permissions on unstable land. This is just one example of the many building safety issues around the country.

The development of infrastructure projects is vital to improve the connectivity and land use of the country. The country is mainly a flat plain which consists of three major modes of transportation and an efficient system is needed to aid economic growth. Road networks have been improved, but there is a lack of resources for maintenance. Bangladeshis experience water issues such as water scarcity and water quality affecting both rural and urban areas. Progress has been made in supplying safe water to the people, but there is still lack of coverage in areas. Diarrheal disease is a major health problem in Bangladesh taking the lives of over 100,000 children each year.

Bangladesh exceeded the regional averages for the Asia-Pacific in the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) progress report and scored higher than the average score in every category including early warning systems, risk assessment, DRR policy, and preparedness for effective response. The country earned these scores by developing numerous plans and instituted the necessary legal framework to support disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.