Coastal flooding in Bangladesh

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  • Coastal flooding in Bangladesh
    • Physical causes
      • River floods: Snow melt in the Himalayas combined with monsoonal rain leads to peak discharge in the 3 major rivers
      • Storm surge floods: Caused by cyclones being funnelled into the Bay of Bengal
      • Low lying river delta: 80% of the country is on the river delta and subsidence further lowers the land
        • Subsidence occurs due to natural compaction of the river delta
      • Tropical storms: Bring strong winds to an area so increase the risk of storm surges
    • Human causes
      • Deforestation
        • In the Himalayas it has meant that more snow melt reaches the rivers faster
        • Along the coastline, mangrove deforestation reduces the protection from storm surges and coastal flooding
      • Dense population: One of the most densely populated countries in the world so many people live in areas at risk from coastal flooding
      • Population lives below sea level: 75% of the country is less than 10m above sea level
      • Subsidence: Natural subsidence is being accelerated through drainage, dredging and channelisati-on
      • Global warming: Causing both sea level rise and more frequent and intense tropical storms, increasing the risks of storm surges
        • Higher sea level increases river flooding as major rivers will flow more slowly
    • Consequence
      • Social
        • In 1970 a storm surge killed half a million people
        • A 1.5m rise in sea level could displace 15-17 million people
        • Wetter environments by the sea and rivers could become breeding grounds for diseases like malaria and cholera
        • Loss of farmland due to flooding and salt contamination would cause food shortages
        • The coastal flooding caused by Cyclone Sidr in 2007 affected 3 million households
      • Environment
        • Country most at risk from sea level rise
        • 40% of all recorded storm surges have occurred here
        • The mangroves of the Sundarbans ecosystem could be lost
        • About 40% of the country's farmland could be lost if there is a 65cm sea kevel rise
      • Economic
        • The main port of Chittagong would be out of action due to sea level rise
        • Loss of farmland will reduce the country's GDP
        • Cyclone Sidr and its storm surge caused $1.7 billion in damage
        • The damage to schools and hospitals following the 2004 floods was about $7 billion
    • Management
      • Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure project of 2012 focussed on long term climate-proofing of Chittagong
        • Improved road connections, raised embankments, created raised market areas, constructed and improved cyclone shelters and provided training in climate resiliance
        • Helped alleviate poverty, adapted to climate change, reduced disaster risk
        • Disturbed people and habitats, removed vegetation, relocation of some people
        • Supported by the Asian Development Bank
      • Flood satellite imaging systems are a short term strategy
        • Loaned $60 million by a UN agency
        • Monitors cloud cover, hydrographs and rainfall patterns across river basins
        • Aims to give more warning of floods


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