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The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to disaster and climate change. The Filipino population and economy are growing rapidly, especially in urban centers, where over 65 percent of the country lives, 45 percent of it in poverty. Typhoons, Floods & LandslidesFor the last five years, 2008-2012, the Philippines was in the top three countries for the number of natural disasters, with the most frequent being storms and floods.
Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the location of 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes, the Philippines has experienced numerous high magnitude seismic events. Fire is the most frequently reported natural disaster in Myanmar with approximately 900 cases per year. Adaptation & Local ContextIn addition to local NGOs, other local actors are involved in DRR and response efforts. From 1991 to 2010, the Philippines was one of the top five recipients of disaster risk reduction grants from the international community with a total of $834.6 million in grants , primarily from Japan. With the tropical climate and unstable landforms, coupled with high population density, poverty, illiteracy and lack of adequate infrastructure, India is one of the most vulnerable developing countries to suffer very often from various natural disasters, namely drought, flood, cyclone, earth quake, landslide, forest fire, hail storm, locust, volcanic eruption, etc.
An event, natural or man-made, sudden or progressive, that seriously disrupts the functioning of a society, causing human, material, or environmental losses of such severity that the affected community has to respond by taking exceptional measures. The GoB has, therefore, total commitment towards reduction of human, economic and environmental costs of disasters by enhancing overall disaster management capacity. Efforts have been continuing for optimum coordination and best utilization of resources along-with ensuring community involvement so that they are aware of what they can do for protecting their lives and properties against disasters.
The plan and conduct of disaster management by GoB involve preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation as key notes for building up self-reliance of the community people. Government as part of disaster management have been trying to develop it's scientific networking in respect of disaster forecasting and early warning.
With grant of Japan Government, replacement of radar at Agargaon, Dhaka , establishment of a new radar at Rangpur and a satellite ground receiving station at SWC, Dhaka have been completed last year to enhance the capability of SWC of Bangladesh Meteorological Department. Substantial progress in the expansion of flood forecasting and warning services (FAP-10) in the country has been made with the help of Danish Hydraulic Institute.
GoB gives equal importance to both structural as well as non-structural mitigation measures. As part of structural mitigation measures, GoB has so far constructed 2,023 cyclone shelters and 200 flood shelters.
Disaster Management Draft Act has finalized with the purpose of providing for the formulation of disaster management policy relating to preparedness and emergency measures, and rehabilitation program to deal with disaster. As part of public awareness activities, booklets containing information about cyclone, flood etc. GoB has decided to make compulsory a session of at least 02 hours on disaster management in the training curricula of all types of Training Institutes to train officials and non officials. Content is available under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License unless otherwise noted. You can use browse the site using the menu structure above, or give us a call on 0208 943 7972 to see if we can help.
Science, Technology and Medicine open access publisher.Publish, read and share novel research. Disaster Management Discourse in Bangladesh: A Shift from Post-Event Response to the Preparedness and Mitigation Approach Through Institutional PartnershipsC.
Raising the level of expertise of the Disaster Management SystemsCapacity-buildingMDMR and Implementing Agency1.
Recognizing the need for vulnerability reduction for effective disaster management, the failures of a top-down management approach have become evident.
This organization, directly supported by DMB and DRR, remains the pivot and is destined to channel and coordinate all communications and activities between and among all the partners in the loop. When BDPC launched the RRDPRG project less than 20% of the intervention areas’ inhabitants knew the responsibilities of the Union Parishad.
Honufa Begum comes from an insolvent family from Jewdhara Village of Ward 9 in Nishanbaria Union.
Chowhali is an Upazila located on the bank of Jamuna River under the District of Shirajgonj. Shah Alam, a member of Ward-7, Nishanbaria Sachetan Dal (beneficiary group), lives in close proximity of Sundarban mangrove forest for generations. Damage caused by natural disasters has sharply been reduced since April 29, 1991 when a cyclonic storm ripped through the coastal region, killing nearly 138,882 people and 1,061,029 livestock.
The ability to tackle disasters like cyclone, tsunami, earthquake and fire in Bangladesh has improved gradually due to precautionary measures taken by the government and its preparedness for dealing with disasters.
As a result, damage caused to lives, livestock and infrastructures by such disasters has also been reduced amazingly, data shows. According to data of the Disaster Management Ministry, around 138,882 people and 1,061,029 livestock died and 13,798,275 other people rendered homeless in the cyclone that hit the coastal districts on April 29, 1991 with a wind speed of nearly 225km per hour and 15-20 feet high tidal surge. But the death toll from November 15, 2007 cyclone Sidr was reduced sharply as the government had taken precautionary measures. Besides, only 190 people and 150,131 livestock died while 3,928,259 people became homeless when the cyclone Aila lashed parts of the country.
According to the database of the government and different non-governmental organisations working with disaster management, the loss of lives and properties was reduced gradually.
Gautam Kumar Bhattacharya, joint secretary of the Disaster Management Ministry, told the Dhaka Tribune that though the government had taken several initiatives to tackle disasters, it was not fully satisfied with the measures and achievements. He also said the government had already procured several rescue equipment, vessels, mobile water treatment machines and introduced rainwater harvesting system in coastal areas.
Around 4,600 houses for individual families were constructed along with a good number of cyclone shelters and cyclone resistance schools which could also be used as cyclone shelters. Some 63,000 volunteers are being imparted training to operate the rescue operation during any sort of disasters. At the same time, the government had taken up some programmes to rehabilitate the cyclone victims by building cyclone resistance houses, alternative employment, providing food and financial assistance by social safety net programmes, he said.
Despite several initiatives taken by the government to rehabilitate the cyclone victims, a good number of Aila victims are still under the open sky.
About UsAbout UsWorld Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Our WorkOur Work with ChildrenEverything we do has just one goal: the sustained well-being of children, especially the most vulnerable.
Our ApproachesOur ApproachesEverything we do has just one goal: the sustained well-being of children, especially the most vulnerable. World Vision works around the clock to bring hope and relief to children and families whose lives are threatened in the wake of disasters.
The community of Bhandaria successfully participated in an exercise that increased awareness about early warning system and their role in reducing disaster risks, with the aim of reducing vulnerability during a cyclone. Community people, including students, participated in the disaster risk reduction and preparedness simulation exercise that World Vision Bangladesh facilitated.
With over 7,000 islands, and over 36,000 kilometers of coastline, nearly everyone – 74 percent of the population – and everywhere – 80 percent of the land area – are vulnerable to disaster, with the capital of Manila considered at “extreme risk.”Typhoons and storms, which make up 58 percent of all disasters in the country, related flooding (25 percent) and landslides (six percent) pose the greatest threats to the country. While the urbanization policy has been good for economic growth, it has also increased the vulnerability of its 25 largest cities, most of them on riverbanks and coastlines. Rising sea levels are a direct threat to approximately 70 percent of the 1,500 municipalities in the Philippines , many of which may need to relocate as a result.
Storms surpass all disasters in the country in terms of highest number of fatalities, people affected and economic damage .
Rates of fire are higher in the Yangon, Bago, Delta, Sagaing and Mandalay Divisions.Risk of fire is highest during the hot season from mid-February to mid-May. Many interviewees described immediate local responses to natural disasters coming predominantly from family members and faith groups. It is estimated that of that funding, over $500 million was spent on emergency response, and not on preparation or resiliency programs.The World Bank reported that a lack of coordination and insufficient scope of roles and responsibilities have hindered disasters management across agencies and sectors in the Philippines. Since its founding in 2001, Give2Asia has raised $237 million in gifts and donations from corporate, foundation, and individual donors for community partners in Asia. The rapid growth of the world's population and its increased concentration often in hazardous environment has escalated both the frequency and severity of natural disasters. It may be that the address is invalid (you might want to check that the address was typed in correctly) or we may be experiencing some technical difficulties. Organizational structure and institutional arrangements for disaster management at the national level and field level3.2.
The ministry was renamed the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) in 1993 and then again renamed the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management (MoFDM) in 2002.
This coordinated process, particularly during non-crisis periods, is expected to result in the shift of focus from post-disaster to pre-disaster risk management.
North Channel Union of Sadar Upazila is situated on the bank of river Padma under the District of Faridpur. Around 3,406 people and 1,873,694 livestock died and 8,923,259 people became homeless in the Sidr.
A law has also been enacted mentioning the responsibilities of stakeholders and punishment for ignoring those,” he added. The dams in coastal areas are being repaired and reconstructed to save the people from tidal surge, Bhattacharya said. Most of them were chosen from the coastal belt while a good number of volunteers were selected from the city areas as they can carry out rescue drive immediately after disasters, he added.
Storms surpass all other disasters in terms of number of fatalities, people affected and economic damage.
Urban vulnerability is made worse by poor housing conditions, and the low adaptive capability of the urban poor.As stated by Antonia Loyzaga of the Manila Observatory, “the Philippines is an archipelagic country with a declared government policy that supports the urbanization of coastal cities in order to spur economic growth. Climate change has also increased the frequency and severity of natural disasters.Studies and climate change simulations show that rainfall will increase in intensity during the wet season in the Central Visayas and Southern Tagalog provinces.
Furthermore, the strong winds and heavy rainfall which accompany typhoons often lead to flooding or landslides.Most typhoons originate from the southeast and travel north, increasing in speed and intensity as they approach the Philippines. Both events are rare, but extremely destructive.In 2004, the Philippine government, combine with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, studied the Valley fault, which runs through Metro Manila and its environs in order to identify vulnerable areas, according to flammability, evacuation difficulty and building collapse. The high incidences of fire in Myanmar result from climatic conditions including temperature, use of flammable construction materials, unplanned development and other social factors. As coordinated response to major disasters has been week in the past, these groups have played a significant role in filtering immediate aid to affected populations.Faith groups often have the facilities and networks to distribute aid in a timely manner. Give2Asia has demonstrated its effectiveness in serving the needs of international philanthropy with its on-the-ground presence, knowledge of diverse social and economic conditions, and the expert matching of donor interests with innovative and effective grantees. Though it is almost impossible to fully recoup the damage caused by the disasters, it is possible to (i) minimize the potential risks by developing early warning strategies (ii) prepare and implement developmental plans to provide resilience to such disasters (iii) mobilize resources including communication and telemedicine services, and (iv) to help in rehabilitation and post-disaster reconstruction.
With the tropical climate and unstable land forms, coupled with deforestation, unplanned growth proliferation non-engineered constructions which make the disaster-prone areas mere vulnerable, tardy communication, poor or no budgetary allocation for disaster prevention, developing countries suffer more or less chronically by natural disasters.
New MDMR allocation of business and organogram reflecting broader responsibilities in disaster risk management3. A better understanding of disasters and losses also brings to light the fact that the increased occurrence of disasters and disaster-related loss has been due to the exponential increase in the occurrence of small- and medium-scale disasters.
After the formation a new government in 2008, this name of this ministry went back to its previous title as the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR).The primary function associated with disaster management is outlined in the government’s Rules of Business which are undertaken by the DMB and the DRR. Reducing vulnerability via these structural measures has been quite effective in coastal Bangladesh. However, the MoDMR must ensure the transparency of its own and all other agencies involved in developing the partnership for disaster management. Though less regular than hydrometeorological disasters, earthquakes (five percent), volcanic eruptions (five percent) and drought (< one percent) can also have devastating effects.
Hyper-concentrating people and economic resources in coastal areas – without investing in the institutional capacity to build a shared understanding of the science of integrated risks from climate change and geological hazards – is a recipe for disaster.”Outside of the cities, the farmers and fishermen are most affected by natural disasters. Interviewees also cited that although these groups have been quick on first response relief efforts in the past, they lack the technical capacity and knowledge of DRR to engage in activities beyond first response. While the government has passed laws and policies for these purposes, the regulations are not heavily enforced.
Bangladesh becomes the worst victim of natural calamities causing colossal loss of lives and properties. Developments in the Institutional Framework: Introduction to the Comprehensive Disaster Management Plan (CDMP)Table 1. IntroductionThe discourse of disaster management has undergone significant changes in recent decades and their effects have been profoundly felt in the developing world, particularly in terms of reduction in the loss of human lives.
As a result, numerous scholars and stakeholders feel that it is important to adopt a new strategy that directly involves vulnerable people in the planning and implementation of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery measures. The Rules of Business have been revised to reflect the current MoDMR approach of comprehensive, community-based vulnerability reduction and risk management. There is clear evidence that these embankments along the coastal areas provided an effective buffer during the storm surge associated with Cyclone Sidr. Public disclosure and documentation should be mandatory for all the stakeholders and must be published by this pivotal agency on a regular basis.
Cumulatively, these disasters cause an average of over 1,000 deaths per year .The Philippines Government, INGOs and local NGOs are all making attempts to address climate change and disasters at various levels. With one-third of the population working in agriculture, natural disasters also threaten food security and major sources of livelihood.Droughts, floods and cyclones all affect the agricultural sector and the livelihoods of farmers and fishermen. Faith groups have played an important role in filling the gaps of the system and working to meet the needs of their communities.


While communication satellites help in disaster warning, relief mobilization and tele-medicinal support, earth observation satellites provide required database for pre-disaster preparedness programmes, disaster response, monitoring activities and post-disaster damage assessment, and reconstruction, and rehabilitation. Among various natural hazards, earthquakes, landslides, floods and cyclones are the major disasters adversely affecting very large areas and population in the Indian sub-continent. The adverse impacts of all the natural hazards affecting socio-economic condition need to be reduced for sustainable development. In this chapter, we concentrate on the evolution of disaster management approaches in Bangladesh and the method of their implementation by mobilizing institutions as a case in the developing world. This bottom-up approach has received wide acceptance because it considers communities as the best judges of their own vulnerability and capable of making the best decisions regarding their well-being.
The result is that though there has been a declining trend in loss of lives and property, particularly from cyclone disasters, flood damage has tended to rise because of the large spatial extent of floods, their increased frequency and the expanding economy.Government documents and the NGO literature indicate that there is a wide recognition that effective disaster response at the local level is not possible by government agencies alone and that the cost of management needs to be shared by all stakeholders. Lives were saved, and damages and property losses were much lower where embankment structures had been properly maintained. However, many of the resources put aside for this purpose are re-directed to emergency response when disasters strike, such as Typhoon Yolanda (known as Haiyan internationally) in Nov. Frequent storms increase the salinity level of irrigated land, leaving it unfit for agriculture, while warmer ocean water damages coral reefs, the feeding grounds for many species relied upon by local fishermen.Environmental degradation, including logging, mining, also exposes communities to higher risks. Typhoon Yolanda in late 2013 increased these totals by between 15 and 25 percent .Floods and landslides commonly occur as secondary hazards induced by typhoons and monsoons. They are often seen supporting community led livelihoods, education, health and other activities projects.Many local NGOs also operate activities with focus in fields such as livelihoods, health, environment or social work that contribute to the efforts of DRR, but they themselves do not use the term DRR.
The article describes the role of space technology in evolving a suitable strategy for disaster preparedness and operational framework for their monitoring, assessment and mitigation identifies gap areas and recommends appropriate strategies for disaster mitigation in comparison with likely developments in space and ground segments. These natural disasters are of (i) geophysical origin such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, land slides and (ii) climatic origin such as drought, flood, cyclone, locust, forest fire. On realization of this reality, the Government of Bangladesh has undertaken a lot of plans and programs for disaster reduction through disaster management. The geographical location of Bangladesh in South Asia, at the confluence of three large river systems – the Brahmaputra, the Ganges, and the Meghna – and north of the Bay of Bengal, renders it one of the most vulnerable places to floods and cyclones. The search for the newer approach led to the formulation of the Community-Based Disaster Management (CBDM) strategy.The aim of CBDM is to reduce vulnerabilities and to strengthen people’s capacity to deal with hazards and cope with disasters. Still, the major lacuna in the institutional framework continues to be a lack of functioning partnerships among the stakeholders. 2013, and the flash floods caused by Typhoon Sendong (Washi internationally) in Mindanao in Dec. The Philippines has mountainous terrain with a sharp drop to coastal areas, exposing communities in low-lying areas to high risk.DroughtInstances of drought are infrequent, typically happening as a result of El Nino.
In addition to the NGOs included in this report, communities around the country will be home to locally developed projects covering a broad range of fields.
Though it may not be feasible to control nature and to stop the development of natural phenomena but the efforts could be made to avoid disasters and alleviate their effects on human lives, infrastructure and property. A thorough assessment of a community’s exposure to hazards and an analysis of their specific vulnerabilities and capacities is the basis for activities, projects and programs that can reduce disaster risks. The massive flood of July 2004 showed that there were no partnerships functioning and there was little coordination. More than 90% of our survey respondents observed that coastal embankments had saved their lives and property from Cyclone Sidr. Each of the DDMC in the risk-prone areas can be equipped with a Geographic Information System (GIS) Cell as a planning tool for managing development and disaster reduction activities.
However, when they do occur, they can cause extensive damage to the population and its agriculture. Climate models have revealed that the effects of climate change are not only affecting individual countries, but resulting in increased climate variations at regional levels [4].
Review of the development project appraisal processes and integration of disaster risk management3.
Because a community is involved in the whole process, their real and felt needs, as well as their inherent resources, are considered. The Local Consultative Group (LCG) concluded that massive shortcomings existed in the forecasting, preparedness and coordinated response to the crisis [22]. They also registered that coastal plantations were another major living structural feature that reduced the velocity of the wind and the speed of tidal surges along with the cyclone and, in turn, saved their lives and properties.
Large-scale training of staff at all levels, including the stakeholders, particularly from the media, NGOs and private sector, in team and motivational works and in how to prevent disasters; for the purpose, a Disaster Management Training Cell can be established at the DMB. Bangladesh, as part of South Asia, is likely to experience more variations in climate regimes, as well as more extreme weather events.Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world, except city states, with more than 1,000 people per sq km [5].
Therefore, there is a greater likelihood that problems will be addressed with appropriate interventions. As a result, the NGOs conducted relief and rehabilitation efforts largely without government directives and coordination. Nevertheless, by establishing the rich disaster management related traditions and by spreading public awareness the IDNDR provided required stimulus for disaster reduction.
Agriculture, which provides a quarter of the gross domestic product (GDP), depends largely on timely monsoon rainfall and regularity in seasonal fluctuations. Initially, the government appeared confident to deal with the post-disaster recovery singlehandedly. ConclusionsThe findings of our study reveal that, officially and legislatively, the government of Bangladesh in recent years has taken a comprehensive and integrated approach to disaster management. It is anticipated that the local community should be able to gain directly from improved disaster risk management. When things were getting worse, it made a flash appeal on 17 August 2004 through the UNDP, Dhaka, for international assistance. However it is possible to reduce the impact of disasters by adopting suitable disaster mitigation strategies. The cyclone of 1970, in the coastal areas of what was then East Pakistan, alone claimed over half a million lives. This in turn will contribute to a progression toward safer conditions and to the improved security of livelihoods and sustainable development. Another report argues about the handling of 1998 floods, indicating that “limited evidence of government coordination was found in the recovery phase” [23]. However, in the absence of stable and transparent institutions, this strong institutional partnership approach remains largely on paper.
The disaster mitigation works mainly address the following: (i) minimise the potential risks by developing disaster early warning strategies, (ii) prepare and implement developmental plans to provide resilience to such disasters, (iii) mobilise resources including communication and tele-medicinal services and (iv) to help in rehabilitation and post-disaster reduction. Again, the 1991 and 2007 cyclones caused the loss of about 149,000 and 3,406 people respectively.
This underlines the point that the local community is not only the primary actor but also the beneficiary of the risk reduction and development process [21].The implementation of CBDM requires consideration of many essential features. Save the Children (USA) also proclaimed that “there was a general lack of coordination among actors” [24].
Individual stakeholders continue to make significant contributions, but synergy and multiplier effects are still missing.
Disaster management on the other hand involves: (i) pre-disaster planning, preparedness, monitoring including relief management capability.
In recent years, the frequency of extreme floods has increased, as has the corresponding economic loss.
Following Yodmani (2001), [21], the primary ones could be identified as: The local community has a central role in long-term and short-term disaster management and therefore the focus of attention in disaster management must be on the local community. In the wake of the latest cyclone, Sidr in 2007, BBC reported, “Plenty of agencies, but not enough aid - too little, too late,” and further quoted a professional working in an affected area, “The reason why these people are not receiving enough help is because there is no coordination between the government and aid agencies” [25].
Our analysis shows that no, or only a very limited, culture of partnership in disaster management has yet been established. The flood in July 2004 was the most devastating – with an economic loss of about US $2.2 billion [5].
Disaster risk or vulnerability reduction is the foundation of CBDM; the primary content of disaster management activities revolves around reducing vulnerable conditions and the root causes of vulnerability. Divisive partisan politics and the lack of good governance prevent partnerships among stakeholders. In terms of GDP, this loss was less than what the world’s poorest countries faced during the 1985–99 disasters – a loss of 13.4% of combined GDP [10]. The primary strategy for vulnerability reduction is by increasing a community’s capacities and their resources, and by improving and strengthening coping strategies. Southkhali village in Shoronkhola upazila of Bagerhat district was one the worst hit areas in Sidr. Therefore, in the following section we propose a partnership framework that outlines new roles and responsibilities for major players.
Disaster reduction is a systematic work which involves with different regions, different professions and different scientific fields, and has become an important measure for human, society and nature sustainable development.
Disaster management must also establish linkages to the development process as disasters are viewed as unmanaged development risks and unresolved problems of the development process. During a visit immediately after the event to the area, the Indian foreign minister pledged his country’s intention to build all the houses in this and the surrounding villages.
Implementation of the framework could lead to partnership in disaster management in Bangladesh. CBDM should lead to a general improvement of the quality of life of the vast majority of the poor people and of the natural environment. From then onwards, nominal government initiative was taken to give shelters to the affected people in this area, and a virtual official ban was put into effect on others, including NGOs and aid agencies, to build houses for the affected people. Government agencies, NGOs and policymakers need to understand the perspectives of local communities, the impacts of floods, and the levels of vulnerability to improve information, knowledge, resource support and services. Traditionally, the disaster management approach in the country has been to respond to disaster in the aftermath of the events. The pledged Indian support did not come in due time and even 100 days after the event people in this area were forced to live under the sky [26]. For this, there is a need for more “action research” involving communities and scientists from different disciplines and greater awareness about the integration of floods, cyclones and other natural disasters and climatic events into the development process among key actors, particularly, government agencies.Disaster management is a nationwide affair, involving each and every organization and citizen of the country. Nonetheless, the ever-increasing human and economic costs have raised serious questions about such approaches. Priority was accorded to focus on community-level preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation.
As community is a key resource in disaster risk reduction, their role and interests must be recognized.
The government of any country cannot do it alone because of the resource constraints as well as the wide scope of the tasks involved. Also, flood-disaster management has relied heavily on structural engineering and post-flood relief operations. Programs to train people living in disaster-prone areas were emphasized to improve their capability to cope with natural disasters.
The community is the key actor as well as the primary beneficiary of disaster risk reduction.
Empirical Investigation of Cyclone Sidr Victims at the Local Level: Vulnerability of the Poor It is worth noting that the recent initiatives on community-based disaster risk management became subject to stern criticisms because of their general inadequacy in addressing the vulnerability of the poor to natural hazards and socioeconomic shocks. Therefore, a broad-based partnership involving all the stakeholders is a desirable and realistic approach to realizing the full potential at all stages of disaster management, namely, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery [31]. Overall, such a post-facto approach has failed to effectively deal with the problems of disaster loss.In recent years, there has been a shift to recognize the critical roles of non-structural measures as well as pre-disaster mitigation and preparedness. The Corporate Plan emphasized a series of broad-based strategies: First, disaster management involved the management of both risks and consequences of disasters, which included prevention, emergency response and post-disaster recovery. Within the community, priority attention is given to the conditions of the most vulnerable, as well as to their mobilization in the disaster risk reduction. CBDM programs that aim at prevention and mitigation are few in low- and middle-income countries like Bangladesh and they are poorly funded and insignificant when compared to the financial capital spent by donors and development banks on humanitarian assistance, relief and post-disaster reconstruction. Experience that demonstrates the value of partnership in managing disasters is grounded in the mutual recognition of many different ideas and interests. Second, community involvement was a major focus for preparedness programs to protect lives and properties. The community must directly participate in the whole process of disaster risk management -- from situational analysis to planning and to implementation.
Another weakness of such initiatives was that they were often taken up in the formal sector of the economy, and therein bypassed the poor and the most vulnerable sections of society. The approach, involving multi-modal communication and interaction, proposes to integrate the activities of different stakeholders into a functional partnership framework. CBDM brings together the multitude of community stakeholders for disaster risk reduction, as well as to expand their resource base. 86) points out, “in the year or so between the occurrence of a disaster and approved national reconstruction plans, many vulnerable communities revert to coping with risk, often in the same or worse conditions than before the disaster actually struck” [27].
Since community members are the direct and most seriously affected victims, effective and sustainable partnership requires a change from a partnership approach based on equality to a focus on the community [16]. The local community-level institutions link up with the intermediate and national levels and even up to the international level to address the complexity of vulnerability issues. Therefore, in the current paradigm of risk management approaches, there is more room than ever before for addressing the issues of risk reduction for the poor. This is also consonant with the paradigm shift in mainstream development practice, which is now characterized by a focus on good governance, accountability and greater emphasis on bottom-up approaches [21].


There has been only very limited analysis of the shifting approaches and of how institutions at different levels are presently functioning in Bangladesh. Under the sub-program of Partnership Development, the government actively sought to achieve a multi-agency approach that encompassed the institutions of the government, NGOs and private sector in a collaborative strategy for the alleviation of disaster-induced poverty. The CBDM is an involving and dynamic framework, and therefore its implementation must be monitored, evaluated and adapted to incorporate newer elements. This enhanced coordination and information-sharing among the various actors and thus maximized the efficacy of resource use for effective risk reduction. Bangladesh has experienced several catastrophic environmental disasters during the last two decades; among these events, the April 1991 [28] and November 2007 major cyclones were the most catastrophic in terms of both physical and human dimensions [29]. Under the Community Empowerment sub-program, the government planned to further consolidate the empowerment process by expanding the program and by realizing community capacity-building through awareness and skill development and by expanding disaster management studies within the school system and staff training academies.Besides these, disaster risk reduction was incorporated as a component into the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of Bangladesh as Annex-9 of Disaster Vulnerability and Risk Management [14]. The sharing of experiences, methodologies and tools by communities and CBDM practitioners continues to enrich practice.5.
Cyclone Sidr struck the coast of Bangladesh on 15 November 2007 and was the most powerful mega-cyclone to impact Bangladesh since 1991. The preparation of the PRSP, funded by the World Bank, acknowledged a holistic approach to disaster management.4.
However, the death toll (officially, 3,406 lives were lost) caused by Cyclone Sidr was significantly lower than comparable cyclones in previous years due to the improved warning system and evacuation. Shift from relief and response to disaster risk managementIn the last few decades, disasters have typically been viewed by the public institutions as numerous individual extreme events, and the responses included top-down-oriented government policies and efforts by local and international relief agencies that did not take into simultaneous account the social and economic implications and causes of these events. As is evident from the institutional structure explained above, Bangladesh has developed quite an elaborate framework and disaster preparedness and response mechanism. Nonetheless, the damage to crops and infrastructure was considerable across 30 districts, 200 upazilas and 1,950 unions.
With the significant advancement in the understanding of the natural processes that underlie the hazardous events, a more technocratic paradigm came into existence which conceded that the only way to deal with disasters was by the public policy application of geophysical and engineering knowledge and the associated interventions. Moreover, some policy and plan pronouncements in the recent past indicate that the government has begun to adopt an approach to disaster management that includes both risks and consequences. These approaches treated disasters as exceptional or “abnormal” events, not related to the ongoing social and developmental processes. Some progress has been made in enhancing the disaster management capacities during the last decades. MethodologyOur research examines whether the elaborate institutional mechanisms of disaster management in Bangladesh reflect the partnership of stakeholders. Gradually, with recognition of the fact that these are not “natural events” per se, but directly linked with social structures and their dynamics [20], this structural engineering, technocratic approach shifted to an emphasis on preparedness measures, such as stockpiling of relief goods, preparedness plans and a growing role for relief agencies such as the Red Crescent [21].
Coastal and island people observed that the new, isolated, single-unit settlements were the most severely impacted by the cyclone and storm surge forces. This evolution of public policy approach from “relief and response” to “risk management” has begun to influence the way disaster management programs are planned and financed.
The settlements near the coast and those which were in linear patterns along the coastal embankment suffered the most. Initiatives have been aimed more and more at reducing social and economic vulnerability and at investing in long-term mitigation activities. This type of settlement, which was more susceptible to cyclonic storm surges, was inhabited primarily by the poor of the coastal zones. To collect the primary data from local communities, we applied a case study approach which employed participatory rural appraisal tools, such as focus group discussions (FGDs), household interviews and key informant interviews, in two coastal communities of Bangladesh severely affected by Cyclone Sidr.
The fragmentation of families and the building of new settlements also contributed to high cyclone disaster loss. We analyzed data procured from a total of 162 households distributed across eight villages, which were randomly selected to conduct the interviews and FGDs. The soil of the new settlements was less cohesive, and in most cases, the properties had few or only very small trees.
The houses of the linear settlements along the coastal and island embankment were made of straw, bamboo and other locally sourced materials.
A random sampling procedure was followed to select households from the complete list of households in the selected villages for interview.
Apart from high winds and storm surges, these houses were also vulnerable to breaches of the embankment that occur in major cyclonic storms.
Households were proportionately selected according to the size of the villages, and household heads were interviewed. In our survey, we registered that most of the houses constructed using straw, bamboo, jute stalk, and corrugated iron sheets alongside of the coastal embankment had faced the sea. Eight FGDs were carried out by administering a semi-structured questionnaire to each village.For policy analysis, we relied chiefly on secondary data, which were supplemented by primary data. Such positioning of the housing structures also made them more susceptible to severe damage by the cyclones.
Because Bangladesh has experienced numerous devastating cyclones, as well as long-lasting floods that have caused immense suffering to people and damage to properties in recent decades, we relied on secondary data on the relevant disaster response and management policies.
In contrast, houses located in the interior mainland were usually clustered in groups of six or seven houses called Baris in dense tropical forest. Official documents from the government and donors, study reports from NGOs and other organizations, journal articles, newspaper clippings, TV reports and documentaries, and internet resources from reliable and responsible sources provided additional information for our analysis.
To ensure openness in discussing sensitive issues, we used informal discussions with stakeholders at different levels. Through personal contacts and over the internet we collected reports and documents from government agencies, NGOs, and donors in Bangladesh, such as the Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Centre (BDPC), the Disaster Forum, the Disaster Management Bureau, the Sustainable Development Resource Centre, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Landless families tend to occupy coastal embankments illegally, as there are no public housing or welfare programs in Bangladesh for the landless. The respondents of our survey asserted that because of easy access to both land areas and the sea, they preferred to live on the embankment despite the well-known risks related to both illegal settlement and tropical cyclones (Figure 2). Shifting approaches in disaster managementIn recent decades, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local communities in Bangladesh have undertaken various measures to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters, including floods and cyclones, on the people, economy and society.
The concept of developing national preparedness, as opposed to post-event response, to disasters like floods and cyclones evolved after the floods of 1988 and the devastating cyclone of 1991.
Cyclone preparedness at the local levelCyclone preparedness programs that have been implemented in recent years in the coastal zones of Bangladesh have involved both non-structural and structural measures. The main argument behind this shift was that if people were well prepared for frequent disasters they would minimize their impacts, resulting in a reduced need for relief and rehabilitation.
Appropriate cyclone preparedness training and enhancement of awareness by campaigns and public education have been major tools for building a well-prepared and cyclone-resilient community. It was also strongly felt by the public institutions that if disaster preparedness could be integrated in the socio-economic development process at household, community, regional and national levels, it would build the long-term capacity of the community to mitigate risk and vulnerability to disasters [17].
Our field investigation revealed that only 31% of the local community members have received cyclone preparedness training during non-cyclone periods. The aim of the shift also included changing disaster management approaches and measures from structural engineering interventions to the social dimensions and community partnerships.The stated significant change in emergency and disaster management approaches demanded institutional restructuring in the governance portfolios. Such training was chiefly provided by the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that were locally active (30% of the local community members received training from them); national and local government initiatives in this regard were nominal (only 1% received training from them) (Figure 3).
Consequently, the government of Bangladesh, led by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, has undertaken various steps in the form of policy, strategy and programs considering the concept of disaster management through mitigation, preparedness, recovery and rehabilitation.
Among the structural engineering measures, the construction of cyclone shelters and raised mounds (locally known as killa) to provide refuge during the onset of cyclones were the principal ones. The expansion of coastal embankments and reforestation programs to protect settlements and properties from cyclone gusts and storm surges along the coast and estuary channels were among other significant structural measures.
Currently, the DMB has focused on risk reduction through community mobilization, capacity-building and linking risk reduction with the socio-economic development of the poor and vulnerable groups and with developing the DMB’s partnership with other government agencies, NGOs and international organizations.Alongside the development thinkers, international development partners (such as UNDP, DFID, Oxfam GB, USAID, Care International, Caritas) and local NGOs which are concerned with, and are experienced in, disaster management in Bangladesh, the government has promoted the approach of capacity-building and disaster preparedness at all levels.
The majority (59%) of the community members took refuge in the designated cyclone shelters or in the masonry buildings of neighbors, friends, and relatives during the onset of Cyclone Sidr. A call for institutional partnerships therefore stemmed from both the government as well as non-governmental and civil society organizations.
A few key policy planners and senior government officials have also favored this new thinking and reflected this through the renaming of the Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief. In 1993, the Ministry of Disaster Management then established the Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) and the government set up a national council and various committees at national, district, upazila (sub-district) and union (local council) levels, for overall disaster management preparedness [17].
Our field research calculated that there were 34 cyclone shelters for 631,138 people (according to the 2001 population census) in the Burguna Sadar upazila, under Burguna district, implying that each cyclone shelter would need to provide refuge to 18,563 people. The implications of this institutional restructuring were manifold, and evolved through a sequence of placing increasing emphasis on institutional partnership and community-based disaster management (CBDM). In Kalapara upazila, under Patuakhali district, there were 113 cyclone shelters for 202,078 people, implying that each shelter would need to accommodate 1,788 people during the onset of a cyclone. Our exploration into why a considerable population did not use cyclone shelters during Cyclone Sidr provided a number of explanations.
Institutional Restructuring to Reflect a Shift in Disaster ManagementIn order to manage the consequences of natural disasters, formal public policymaking institutions in Bangladesh have formulated a well-developed mechanism (Figure 1) at national and field levels.
All cyclone shelters were being used as civic facilities (such as primary schools or community centers) during the non-cyclonic periods but lacked adequate drinking water supply infrastructure and toilets.
A total of 87% of the cyclone shelter users identified low sanitation and inadequate drinking water facilities as major constraints to using these shelters.
The common missions of these bodies have been to provide policy and management guidance and the macro-coordination of activities, particularly relief and rehabilitation.Presently, the lead actor in disaster management is the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) until 2002. They also opined that low physical capacity (79%) and difficulty in maintaining privacy (47%) were other major problems in using the shelters (Table 2). It has the role of inter-ministerial planning of disaster management and coordination and of responding in the event of a disaster. The poor dispersion of cyclone shelters and the lack of road access were other major concerns about the cyclone shelters. Under the MoDMR, there are two line agencies, the Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) and the Directorate of Relief and Rehabilitation (DRR). The degree of satisfaction about the cyclone shelters was very low among the local community members (only 6% were satisfied).
The DMB is a small professional unit at the national level that performs specialist functions, working with district and upazila (sub-district) administrations and line ministries under the overall guidance of the IMDMCC. The examination of the use pattern of cyclone shelters at the local level revealed that although cyclone shelters saved many lives during Cyclone Sidr, many local people opted not to use them or they were simply unavailable in some localities.
It is a catalyst for planning, for arranging public education, and for organizing the systematic training of government officers and other personnel from the national down to the union (local council) or community level. Clearly, these cyclone preparedness and mitigation measures are testimony of institutional partnerships at various levels of governance and public services. Among all the other ministries, the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) plays a vital role in flood management. It is involved in the planning of water resources, including planning for water-related natural disasters such as cyclone protection, flood proofing, riverbank erosion control and drought management, although the mitigation of disasters remains beyond their mandate. The Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC), under the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) of the MoWR, plays an important role in providing early warning about impending floods to the agencies involved.In the areas of both cyclone and flood hazards, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BRCS) and various donor agencies play important roles.
The Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP) was established in 1972 following the devastating cyclone of 1970, under an agreement between the BRCS and the government of Bangladesh, with an aim to undertake effective cyclone preparedness measures in the coastal areas. Thus, as opposed to the structural measures against floods (like dams, river embankments, and flood control and drainage projects) and riverbank erosion control projects (like the building of hard points, canalization and revetment), the recent policies and plans have recognized the importance of participatory planning that focuses on sustaining people’s livelihoods.At the field level (Figure 1), disaster management and related mechanisms start with the district administrations covering all 64 districts of Bangladesh.
The District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) is chaired by the deputy commissioner, the chief civil administrator of the district.
The members of the committee include departmental officers and NGO, BRCS and CPP and women’s representatives. Likewise, below the district level, there are the upazila, union and village tiers of the disaster management committees. These local-level committees include representatives from almost all relevant interest groups in society (Figure 1).
Increasing roles and responsibilities of NGOsThe Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) has been assigned the role of coordinating the activities of NGOs. NGOs and CBOs are actively involved, among others, in disaster management, micro-credits, family planning, and human rights protection. As a matter of fact, the advent of NGO activities in Bangladesh owes its origin to the rehabilitation works immediately after the devastating war of independence in 1971.
Currently, about a quarter of foreign assistance to Bangladesh is channeled through the NGOs.
Therefore, their contributions, particularly to the social service sector and the mobilization of the poor, are quite prominent. NGOs like the Grameen Bank and Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) have extended their development and disaster management programs at the international level as well.NGOs such as CARE-Bangladesh, OXFAM-Bangladesh, Action Aid, Intermediate Technology Development Group-Bangladesh, Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Center (BDPC) and Disaster Forum are particularly involved in various pre-, during and post-disaster activities.
Pre-disaster activities include advocacy, public education campaigns and training programs for personnel involved in disaster management from the national down to the union or local community level.
It aimed “to reduce the level of community vulnerability to natural and human-induced hazards and risks to manageable and humanitarian levels.” This program was supposed to be implemented through a “program-based approach” that encompassed all aspects of risk management. The approach comprehended a transition from a single agency response and relief system to a holistic strategy involving the entire development planning process of the government.
CDMP Phase II was launched in 2010 to institutionalize the adoption of risk reduction approaches, and to channel support through government and velopment partners, civil society and NGOs into a people-oriented disaster management and risk reduction partnership.



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