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Banladesh Flood 2004

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Background information on Bangladesh and its floods It is estimated that just over 70% of Bangladesh lies below mean sea level. Furthermore there are three main rivers that flow through it, namely the Brahmaputra, Ganges and the Meghna. These three rivers have been flooding Bangladesh for hundreds of years now and consequently giving the country very fertile soils brought in from eroded sediment of the Himalayas. This has some great advantages for the people of Bangladesh but is also considered the biggest problem hindering the development of the country. The advantage is the fertile soil which is deposited in the delta. Rice farming is dominant here and the soils provide an exceptional environment for it. This fertility is renewed each year by the annual flooding of the rivers which replenish the soil of its nutrients. However, one of the main disadvantages is that the majority of the country is a floodplain! Hence, flood management is a huge predicament. Many recent factors have been making the flood magnitudes and occurrence of floods very irregular. ...read more.


* Deforestation in the headwaters is also believed to be responsible for the increased soil erosion which has led to large amount of silt being washed into the rivers and subsequently being deposited on the river bed, reducing its channel capacity and increasing the likelihood of flooding. * Increasing population pressure in Bangladesh itself has resulted in the sinking of many new wells resulting in the lowering of the water table and the subsequent subsidence of land making it even more prone to flooding; * Bangladesh is an LEDC and its lack of money and heavy national debt means that little money is available to spend on flood protection methods / defences and many existing defences lack upkeep and are of questionable use. Caused of the 2004 floods In late-June 2004, heavy monsoon rains caused the Meghna River to rise, which reached its peak level in early-July. The Jamuna and Padma Rivers also burst their banks in early July, due to heavy rains in the north of the country. ...read more.


It was then decided that a more softer approach was needed. The construction of small and medium scale projects began and they quickly provided benefits As a result, since the 1960's about 628 large, medium and small-scale projects have been implemented; they comprise levees and embankments, drainage channel improvements, drainage structures, dams and barrages, pumping systems, etc. They have provided flood protection to about 5.37 million ha of land, which is about 35% of the total area. Non-structural measures such as flood forecasting and warning were later incorporated, as it was felt that structural measures alone could not mitigate flood problems. The Flood Forecasting and Warning System (FFWS), established in the 1970s, was modernized in 1996 and then again as of 2000. It now covers all the flood-prone areas of the country with 85 flood-monitoring stations, and provides real-time flood information and early warning with lead-times of 24 and 48 hours. The FFWS is currently assisting Government, disaster managers and the communities living in the flood prone areas in matters of flood preparedness, preparation of emergency mitigation plans, agricultural planning and rehabilitation. ...read more.

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