Disaster Management Reference Handbook (2017) - Bangladesh

Executive Summary

Bangladesh is susceptible to a variety of disasters including cyclones, earthquakes, droughts, storm-surge and flooding. In addition, the country encounters other manmade hazards such as fires and infrastructure collapses. Bangladesh 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 growing concern for Bangladesh because 90 percent of the country is approximately 10 feet above sea level. An evaluation was completed which discovered that high tides in Bangladesh were increasing 10 times more rapidly than the global average.
This predicted rapid increase in sea levels places Bangladesh four times higher than the global average. By 2050, approximately 20 percent of the inhabited land in Bangladesh will be inundated by the sea resulting in displacement for nearly 20 million people. The Government of Bangladesh has implemented policies and plans to focus on climate change concerns, but there is still much work to be completed.

The country has a history of poor infrastructure. Structure fires and building collapses have accounted for the loss of life of more than two thousand laborers in the past decade. The advancement of infrastructure development is imperative to expand the connectivity and land use of Bangladesh. The country is mainly a flat plain which consists of three major methods of transportation and a capable system is necessary to support economic progression. The road networks have been enhanced, but there is a lack of resources for effective upkeep and commuter safety. Additionally, Bangladeshis continue to encounter water concerns such as water scarcity and water quality affecting both rural and urban areas. Improvements have been implemented in the supply and distribution of safe water, but there is still a deficiency in distribution and access to fresh, clean water in some remote and rural areas. Diarrheal disease is a major public health concern in Bangladesh. Waterborne diseases continue to claim the lives of over 100,000 children annually.

Bangladesh exceeded the regional averages for the Asia-Pacific in the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) progress report (2013) and scored a higher than the average score in every category including early warning systems, risk assessment, DRR policy, and preparedness for effective response. Bangladesh earned these scores by implementing various national plans and through the institution of the necessary legal framework to support disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Bangladesh is a nation which will continue to experience the devastating effects of climate change. These concerns for the nation are recognized and the Government of Bangladesh is working progressively to implement mitigation and preparedness measures along with making national economic and transportation improvements to better sever and protect the people of Bangladesh.