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Flood: A Severe Effect of Climate Change in Bangladesh by City Tech Blogger Sayad Shaon

Climate change has had such an effect in the world and it affects each and every part of this planet. Bangladesh is one of the worst sufferers in the world because of its geographical location, landscape, number of rivers & its nature, lack of infrastructure etc. Bangladesh has the Himalayas at the north and the Bay of Bengal at the south. Bangladesh has one of the largest river networks in the world with a total number of about 700 rivers including tributaries, which have a total length of about 24,140  . The rivers fall into the Bay of Bengal. The huge amount of water coming through the rivers with silts which is one why it causes devastating floods during rainy season. On the contrary, sufficient amount of water is not flowing through the rivers and that’s why Bangladesh is facing the challenges of drought.

The biggest threats faced by Bangladesh is flood and drought. The financial loss of flood is the highest among all other natural calamities. The financial loss is 330 million USD in 1988, 2 billion USD in 1998, 2.2 billion USD in 2004, and 1.06 billion USD in  . Almost every year flood and drought affects Bangladesh and causes damages in various ways. Bangladesh is a country of rivers where most of the population (75%) is involved in agricultural activities. Flood causes harm mostly in the sector of agriculture. Flooding normally occurs during the monsoon season from June to September. The season is called kharif season and is characterized by high temperature, rainfall and humidity. Farmers remains busy with newly transplanted rice fields at that time. Excessive water flowing through the river washes away the newly transplanted rice plants. Here are some events of the devastating floods.

1987: Catastrophic flood occurred in July-August. Affected 57,300 sq km (about 40% of the total area of the country) and estimated to be a once in 30-70-year event. Excessive rainfall both inside and outside of the country was the main cause of the flood. The seriously affected regions were on the western side of the Brahmaputra, the area below the confluence of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, considerable areas north of Khulna and finally some areas adjacent to the Meghalaya hills.

1988: Catastrophic floods occurred in August-September. Inundated about 82,000 sq km (about 60% of the area) and its return period is estimated to be 50-100 years. Rainfall together with synchronization of very high flows of all the three major rivers of the country in only three days aggravated the flood. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, was severely affected. The flood lasted 15 to 20 days.

1989: Flooded Sylhet, Sirajganj and Maulvibazar and 600,000 people were trapped by water.

1993: Severe rains all over the country, thousands of hectares of crops went under water. Twenty-eight districts were flooded.

1998: Over two-thirds of the total area of the country was flooded. It compares with the catastrophic flood of 1988 so far as the extent of flooding is concerned. A combination of heavy rainfall within and outside the country, synchronization of peak flows of the major rivers and a very strong backwater effect coalesced into a mix that resulted in the worst flood in recorded history. The flood lasted for more than two months.

2000: Five southwestern districts of Bangladesh bordering India were devastated by flood rendering nearly 3 million people homeless. The flood was caused due to the outcome of the failure of small river dykes in West Bengal that were overtopped by excessive water collected through heavy  .

Bangladesh is a part of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Bangladesh has taken steps to adapt to the current and future impacts of climate change. The economy of Bangladesh depends on agriculture most. The impacts of flood and drought are hug e in Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh has taken necessary steps to mitigate the adverse effects of flood and drought. Steps taken by Government of Bangladesh are

  1. Establishment of embankment
  2. Dredging in the rivers to restore natural courses of rivers
  3. Putting up more flood barriers
  4. Plantation and preparing flood shelter center

Climate change affects a country in all aspects. The effects are observed in terms of geography, sectors & communities.

Geographical regions:

Bangladesh is downstream of the GBM Basin (Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna) and most of the rivers fall in the Bay of Bengal. The rivers flow along the whole country and the nearby districts flowing through the rivers are highly affected during rainy season. River erosion has become crucial now-a-days for Bangladesh. River erosion arises for excessive water flow and lack of dredging activities in the rivers.


As mentioned earlier, the agricultural sector is one to major sectors contributing to the economy of Bangladesh. But this sector is affected by flood and drought. Flood washes away the crops of the field and moves away fish moves away from ponds, reservoirs, lakes to open rivers which cause huge loss.

Agro-based industry is hampered because of unavailability of raw materials. Roads, houses of the people residing near the river are affected due to flood and river erosion. Both government and individual have to invest a lot for this adverse effect of climate change.


Obviously, the farmers have to face the difficulties that arise from the natural calamity. Along with the farmers the people who live in rural areas have to struggle to face the effects of climate change. But this group of people don’t have enough resources to mitigate the challenges of climate change. The career of a physicist is always challenging and it has become more challenging to contribute to the climate change. The study and knowledge of physics can play a vital role to mitigate the losses of climate change. GDP growth of Bangladesh is more than 7%, Bangladesh is going forward at a good pace. Climate change is also alarming with its various displays of flood, drought, cyclones, rise in temperature etc. To achieve the sustainable development goals and millennium development goals, the Bangladesh government has taken many projects to face this global challenge.  emissions per capita of Bangladesh is 0.46 which is less than many countries though the total population of Bangladesh is more than 170  . Government is trying its best to face the global problem strongly with the help of other countries too.

As a student, we can contribute to create awareness of climate change, global warming.  If an individual becomes very careful about uses of energy and nature, energy and nature will be conserved properly. Awareness and preparedness for climate change can protect us from the adversities of climate change.



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