The recent monsoon-driven floods in south Asia severely impact food security of Bangladesh. Early arrival of this year’s flash floods in the northeast and monsoon floods in the northwest destroyed the harvest of the majority of the rice-paddy fields of the country, depriving Bangladesh of nearly 1/6thof its total rice production. Furthermore, dike breaches and overtopping of rivers in the vast river delta of Bangladesh caused flooding of many towns and villages and caused extensive damage to Bangladesh’s infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Nevertheless, given the severity of the floods, the impacts in terms of fatalities were significantly smaller than those from similar floods decades ago. This suggests that the preparedness of Bangladeshi’s to floods has increased.

Professor Chris Zevenbergen, William Veerbeek and dr. Assela Pathirana from the Flood Resilience chair group are currently involved in projects in Bangladesh to accelerating this trend towards lower flood impacts. They do this by introducing and implementing innovate yet locally adapted flood proofing technologies in the NWO-funded CORE Bangladesh project. They are also involved in an initiative spearheaded by dr. Aby Syed of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies to upscale flood resilient housing in villages in Rangpur of Bangladesh which have been destroyed by the recent floods (see pictures). On a more strategic level, they empower all water-related agencies to adopt Bangladesh’s new long term water policy: the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. In the NICHE-funded project DeltaCAP, a “train-the-trainers” program on adaptive delta management is developed which should be disseminated to water professionals all over Bangladesh. Projects like these should further prepare Bangladesh for the many water challenges in the future.

Picture 1: Teesta flood water washed away a portion of the road infrastructure in Dinajpur and the surrounding homes. (photo by The Daily Ittefaq, August 13, 2017)

Picture 2: A flood resilient house in Char Haibat in Rangpur which has not been effected by the recent flash flood. (photo taken by Chris Zevenbergen on September 22, 2017)