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Climate Change and Natural Disaster in Bangladesh

Climate Change and Natural Disaster in Bangladesh

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Published by aminhaz

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Published by: aminhaz on Jul 08, 2009
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11/17/2013

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Climate Change and Natural Disasterin Bangladesh : Will it be neglected?
AFIF-UL-MINHAZ
“If you do not think of me and build your sweet home I will destroy it. If you remain indifferent about your life, I will kill you and your dear ones. If you remain uninformed about my natureand trend and you grow crops, I will destroy them cruelly. If you do not integrate me into your  planning and programmes, I will destroy all your achievements. I can destroy your year round development gains. I can render your people homeless. I can make rich people destitute and beggar ones. So you know well what type of natural hazard I am and what type of disastrouseffect I can do. You may find wellbeing in me but you make it a disaster. It is your failure. I amthe very natural disaster you always neglect.”
Every year various natural hazards occur in the world and almost all hazards turn into disasters.According to the
CRED report,
each year more than
600
disasters occur globally and since
1900
,more than
9000
natural disasters have occurred around the world, of which about
80%
haveoccurred over the last
30
years. On average during
2000-2006
, about
116
countries were hit bydisasters each year, but in
2007
it was
133
. It is reported that, in
2007
,
414
natural disastersoccurred worldwide in which
16,847
 persons were killed, more than
211
million were affectedand caused economic losses worth over 
US$ 74.9
 billion. Of the different regions of the world,Asia has received the hardest hit and is the most affected region by natural disasters.
37%
of theyear’s reported disasters occurred in Asia, accounted for 
90%
of all reported victims and
46%
of the economic damage. On the other hand, the impacts on humans were concentrated in Asia. Onthe contrary, Europe is the safest region of the world where natural disasters are relatively rareand their negative impacts are stronger on economy than on human lives. For example,
65
disasters were reported in Europe in
2007
, accounted for 
27%
of the world’s economic damagesfrom natural disasters, but the disasters affected people in that area are only
1%
of the world’svictims.In Bangladesh, the number of death, economic loss, and infrastructure damage associated withdifferent disasters is also stunning. Statistics shows the picture in-depth. According to
ADRC
report since
1901
to
2000
,
231
disasters have occurred in Bangladesh in which
1,069,693
 peoplewere killed,
956,867
were injured,
36,556,677
 become homeless, and total number of 
3,46,530,651
affected during the same period. Economic damages to those disasters were
US$ 10,431,980.
In
1970
, more than
3,00,000
 people were killed by cyclone. Moreover, floods of 
1987
,
1988
and
1998
were the most destructive in country’s history in terms of its extent, infrastructure damage,economic loss and threat to lives of people. In recent time, in
2007
,
4234
people were killed and
6
million people were displaced or made homeless by cyclone
SIDR 
. But the actual figure in termsof death and economic loss is much more than the statistics we have.The impact of a disaster is making the country’s economy sluggish. The country is losing a goodnumber of Gross Domestic Product
(GDP)
each year due to various natural disasters and this iswhy the country’s
GDP
growth rate is also fluctuating and making the economy more vulnerableand unpredictable. The government is constructing roads, culverts, bridges and other infrastructures each year but natural hazards washings them out. So, where is your developmentgain? This is undoubtedly a devastating scenario for the entire development of Bangladesh.
 
Bangladesh is vulnerable to various natural disasters. Climate change has added an extraconcern. The country can be the worst victim of the negative consequences of climate changeand climate related natural hazards. It is universally acknowledged that the sea level along theBangladesh coast is rising at about 3 millimeters a year. The sea surface temperature is also in arising trend. It is defiantly creating a direct threat to the millions of people of the country. We arenot responsible for climate change but we are the victims of it. We are going to experience thetime line of 2030 and of 2050. We will have to pay its  price more in the coming days. Thegovernment of Bangladesh and other 
SAARC
countries should have a rigid position to theresponsible countries in this regard.Bangladesh is a land of disaster with prevalent poverty situation, which forces many people tolive in disaster-prone areas. On the contrary, each year many people are forced to migrate tocities because of natural disasters. The people of Bangladesh lack better alternatives and thecapacity to cope with natural hazards. And this is why almost all natural hazards turn intodisasters. Losses of life, decline in agriculture production, displacement of human beings, lossesof valuable livestock, disruption in communication and livelihood system are the ultimate resultof all sorts of disasters occurring in Bangladesh. The damages to infrastructure and property arealso immense that hold back year round development progress.Donors and even governments have tendency to spend millions of money as emergency aid butthey hardly spend money for pre-disaster ‘vulnerability and risk reduction’. Yet, some effectiveinitiatives, for example, improvement of early warning systems, building well-planned andsufficient flood and cyclone shelters, enforcement of building code and house settlement plancan save thousands of lives and millions of money. Because of early warning and evacuation itwas possible to save thousands of peoples’ lives before
SIDR 
struck. Otherwise it could haveclaimed thousands of lives more. Moreover, the country is not well enough to tackle post-disaster situation. If a giant earthquake hit the country, have we the capacity to deal with the post-disaster situation? If the Tsunami happens again, have we the capacity to evacuate the people early? Dothe communities have their own resilience or capability to manage a massive disaster? No oneknows how many lives and property we have to sacrifice.Integrating issues of climate change and disaster into all development activities and policies cansolve ‘giant problems’ like poverty, migration and can also help to achieve
MGD
s. Yet, it issomehow ignored and its progress is going at a snail’s pace. What will the present government doto cope with climate change and disaster? Will it be neglected? Will it be excluded fromdevelopment policy and planning? If so, what negative consequences we will have to face is amatter of time. We have several disastrous histories of disasters but we do not learn from it.

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