Bangladesh Floods – Case Study
By Nikita Pankhania
Bangladesh is a MEDC and one the world’s poorest and most densely populated countries. It is located in South Asia, bordered by India in the north, the Bay of Bengal in the east and west, while Myanmar surrounds it to the south. Bangladesh is the eighth most populous country in the world. Bangladesh is also located on the confluences of the river Ganges and Brahmaputra these are two very large rivers which meet in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh flood is a result of both physical and human factors because: Topography: Bangladesh has a low height above sea level which is approximately 2-8m. This means that as the sea level rises more water will be closer to the surface and its 140 million people live mainly on the flood plains of the river Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna therefore they are more susceptible to the flooding and 80% of this floodplain is covered with houses and these are also affected by this vast floodplain and delta. Location: As stated before, Bangladesh is located on the confluences of the river Ganges and Brahmaputra and this means that Drainage density: Bangladesh is an area with high density which means there is more water flowing in the area which means that it is more likely to flood. Urbanisation and concrete: Much of the river Ganges has been diverted for irrigation, which increases the deposition of silt and reduces the channels capacity. This affects the river system, meaning there would be a high chance of flooding. Diverting flow for irrigation however, is only one effect on the river, the other is damming. This is an advantage- as the water can be used for agricultural purposes which an LEDC country like Bangladesh rely heavily upon for income. Agriculture, Farming and Deforestation: Bangladesh has many deforested areas. Deforestation affects flooding because of interception, if there were more trees then the chance of rain would be significantly less. Therefore surface runoff would be increases as the water has nowhere else to go. This also means that it would add to deposition and flooding downstream. Global warming: Global warming is blamed for sea level rise, increased snow melt & increased rainfall in the region Monsoon climate: The main cause was the above average & long period of heavy rain which caused all 3 rivers to have their peak flow at the same time. 70% of the total area is less than 1 metre above sea level and also 10% of the land area is made up of Lakes and Rivers 70% of total land area is less than 1m above sea level- nowhere for water to drain to.
Consequences and Impacts:
A long queue of workers waited for oral rehydration salts for diarrhoea and ointment for skin infections contracted in the water. Suffering and death tolls increased, therefore the death toll rose. Transport links and roads were closed, this meant that many people could not get around and were isolated in their flooded area. 10.5 million People were left homeless or displaced many of these were forced to take shelter in the 950 relief camps set up around Bangladesh. Children lost out on vital education as many educational institutes were affected and were either destroyed during the floods, closed for a long period of time; or even used as shelter. Day labourers and workers were left jobless and without wages. Neck-deep floodwater forced almost all shops, kitchen markets and clinic in many districts to close. Economic:
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 Environmental:
During July and August approximately 38% of the total land area was flooded...
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