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Flooding in Bangladesh

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Introduction

Flooding in Bangladesh Bangladesh is a low lying country and almost all of Bangladesh lies on the largest delta in the world. It is situated between the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean with a vast river basin made up of the Ganges, the Brahamaputra, the Meghna and their tributaries. It also has the highest population density in the world with 847 inhabitants per square kilometer. Bangladesh is one of the world's least developed countries and prone to natural disasters, such as cyclones, floods and droughts. Half of it is less than five meters above sea level. Therefore any change in the earth's temperature that causes the level of the oceans to rise would seriously affect the flooding of the delta area of Bangladesh. A fifth to a third of the country is annually flooded by the river Ganges and there are many factors both human and physical which encourage the river Ganges and Brahmaputra to overflow its river banks. The obvious physical cause of flooding in Bangladesh is that about 90% of the land is below sea level, therefore any changes in the sea level would cause serious problems for Bangladesh. Another physical cause includes the snow melting in the Himalayas, caused by global warming. ...read more.

Middle

Before the floods of 1987-8 the Bangladesh government proposed and carried out the 'Flood Action Plan' which used embankments (man-made levees) along the length of the main rivers. The aim was to have controlled the distribution and speed of flooding. However the embankments were not designed to cope with the amount of flood water in the 1987-8 floods. Breaches in the embankments resulted causing wide spread flooding. Critics argue that by trying to control them can lead to worse affects than if they were never built at all. Another problem with these embankments was that they did help to hold access water in the river however also prevented rainfall getting into the rivers. As a result the land became to saturated and access water stayed on the land. When discussing about coastal flooding it is important to recognize that it has both positive and negative consequences, the positive consequences may not seem to be too obvious but the majority of the subsistent farmers and the dwellers living in Bangladesh rely on floods for survival. Regular annual flooding is essential for people who live on the flood plain of these rivers, the farming season is planned around the floods, rice is a main crop and requires large quantities of water. Another advantage of flooding is that when the river floods it leaves behind fertile silt. ...read more.

Conclusion

* Build dams to control river flow and hold back monsoon rain water in reservoirs * Complete and strengthen embankments along the main river channels to a height of up to seven meters. Other proposals have also been made, however the problem surrounding these proposals is that the poor local people wouldn't be able to adapt quickly to the changes made. Bangladesh is low-lying and to make sufficient changes there isn't enough money. If for example the course of the river is changed it will only cause further problems some where else. People in Bangladesh aren't educated enough to build any appropriate flood protection and to maintain them. The problem concerning Bangladesh is that most of the land is only a few feed above water and very unstable. No amount of river control can change this. To alleviate the impact of flooding Bangladesh's only choice has to be severe population controls to reduce the density of people on this land and also to encourage a movement away from the lowest lying areas. It is also believed that Bangladesh will each year run a three-times higher risk of suffering an exceptionally wet monsoon compared with the probability today, thus it is also expected that parts of Bangladesh face the risk of more frequent, major floods in the latter half of this century because of global warming. ...read more.

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