Why the flood risk?
Sources of rivers are in Himalayas so snowmelt adds to the discharge during spring
S Asia has a monsoon climate and experiences a wet season between May and September when low pressure and winds blowing from SW across Bay of Bengal bring heavy rain to coastal regions.
Bangladesh also suffers from cyclones that bring high winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges.
Urbanisation - the capital city Dhaka now has a population of more than 1 million people
Rapid deforestation in Himalayas has had a negative effect on rates of interception and evapotranspiration resulting in more water reaching the rivers. river management is difficult to implement in LEDCs. Average GDP per capita is around $300.
Population rely on subsistence agriculture to survive growing rice on rented plots of land so there is little income from taxation for Government and Bangladesh relies heavily on foreign aid to finance large scale development project which might help prevent floods.
In 2004 the monsoon season brought more rainfall than usual.
36 million people were made homeless
By mid September the death toll had risen to 800. People died as a result of disease because they had no access to clean water.
Landless labourers and small farmers were the most severely affected in rural areas and in the urban areas it was typically the slum dwellers squatting on poorly drained land who suffered the most.
Flood also caused serious damage to infrastructure – roads, bridges, embankments, railway lines, irrigation systems
All domestic and internal flights had to be suspended during July
Road and rail links into Dhaka were severely affected
Value of damage was assessed as being in region of $2.2 billion of 4% of total GDP for 2004
During July and August approximately 38% of the total land area was flooded including 800,000 ha of agricultural land and Dhaka
Floods caused river bank erosion especially on embankment areas close to the main channels, soil erosion, water-logging, water contamination
Short term responses
The government working with non-governmental organisations provided emergency relief: rice, clothing, medicines, blankets and towels
In July the United Nations activated a disaster