flood management

Flood Management Strategy: A Prime Concern for Bangladesh

MNA Editorial Desk: Since early sixties of the last century Bangladesh has accepted different kinds of measures for flood management with mixed practices.

Rapid population growth generates extra pressure on the land of already congested Bangladesh.  Agricultural lands give way to housing growths and roads. This rapid improvement and urbanization must have serious the flooding problem in Bangladesh.

Though forewarnings for the floods had been made well in advance this year, but the government hasn’t been adequately prepared to tackle the disaster. According to government data, so far the number of flood-affected persons is 5.7 million.

But even after tripling the flood relief, this has not exceeded 20,400 tonnes of rice and Tk 65.60 million. This is clearly inadequate to meet the demands of so many flood victims.

However, in Bangladesh it is being some structural measures such as Flood Embankment, Channel Improvement, River Training, Coastal Embankment etc. to combat the flood sufferings. Among these structural measures, construction of embankment is most popular and very old exercise in Bangladesh.

With  the  experience  over  the  last  few  decades,  it  was  observed  that  the  structural  measures  do  not  usually  bring  only  blessings. Flooding is a natural phenomenon, which cannot be prevented.  Complete flood control is not in the interests of most Bangladeshi farmers.

The flood management measures and policies should be directed to mitigation of flood damage, rather than flood prevention. Resources should be allocated to help people adopt a life style that is conformable to their natural environment.

In addition, implementation of an improved real-time flood and drought control warning system can reduce damage caused by floods. To mitigate flooding propensity in Bangladesh, both the government and the people will have to shift their paradigms.

The ‘traditional’ approach of responding to delta floods with large scale infrastructure and full flood control is, especially in the Dutch delta, now complemented by strategies that have a different attitude towards natural processes and ecosystem dynamics.

This may provide the required space to reduce peak discharge levels, while yearly flooding is expected to positively influence the river wetlands and delta ecosystem. However,  more  lands  of  the  flood  plains  are  being  occupied  and  converted to habitat and agricultural lands, which were mostly, back swamp.

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