Bangladesh is a country already tied down by huge economic debts, poverty and now a major flood – the biggest in 20 years. River floods occur when the amount of water flowing in a drainage basin or watershed (the area that collects and directs the surface Water into the streams that drain it) exceeds the carrying capacity of rivers Which drain the area. The annual monsoon’s that hit the bengali coast lashed down, causing two of the biggest rivers in Asia, the River Ganges and the River Brahmaputra, to but there banks, thus flooding the capital city Dhaka and other key areas. Also as a result of this lood, one of the main Bengali exports and item of trade, rice, has been more or less lost.
This will cause a severe dent in Bangladeshi’s already floundeing economy. With the estimated clean up cost of the flood being the highest in the country’s history, It looks like the Bengali government will have to plunge there country further into debt. Of the 126 million people living on this south – Asian delta, 83% of them live in rural areas, mainly farming rice and wheat on fertile areas of land, which are unfortunatly prone to flooding each year. Most of the countries crops have been destroyed, causing another roblem for the government of Bangladesh. The astonishing 230 rivers in Bangladesh flood an area around the size of Wales and Scotland put together, and with more then 50% of land being below 15m of sea level, the floods are able to cover a larger area, and homes are being built on lower land – increasing vunrebility. The question many people around the world want to know is:
Are These Floods A Natural Occurance or Are The Floods A Result Of Human Activity? The floods in Bangladesh arent always seen as negative occurences, the annual floods that take place deposit silt and inerals on the land that makes it fertile to farm on, the floods of relative low frequency but are usually big are not seen as good and are usually devastating. The heavy monsoon downpour and the major rivers, flood-peaking at the same time are generally considered to be the main causes of the floods, however with the local sea levels rising, deforestation of the upstream areas of the two main rivers, steep population and economic growth, Is it human activity causing these monster floods?
The people of Bangladesh generally blame the Nepalese farmers and the Indian and Bhurmese governments for these freak floods’ which do not usually occur. I asked Sarah Nayeem, A Bengali Accountant who lives in Dhaka, Who she thinks is too blame for the floods? She replied `I believe that Major deforestation in Nepal is causing increased surface runoff into the rivers, increasing the river level, also there is more silt material left in river as it isnt deposited properly causing a rise in river beds which leads to bigger and longer floods’ I asked her weather she thought that the Indian Government was to blame for the floods she said `Building the dam at Farraka has aused great problems for Bangladesh and friction between the two nations.
The Bengali government believe that due to the dam, they get less river flow in the summer months causing sedimentation and adding to the velocity of the floods. Personley I feel that its not a great cause of the floods, but it doesn’t help’ Below is a table showing some causes and effects of the floods in Bangladesh. Human Activity What is it and where is it? Why Is Taking Place There? Effect Deforestation in Nepal. The Farmers In Nepal need extra space to farm and live, due to lack of ow lying land to farm in Nepal, new low lying areas are having to be found and prepared for farming. Trees get cut down and there is then more land for the farmers to farm and people to live on. Also the trees are used for fuel in Nepal. With less trees on the up-stream parts of the main rivers, Ganges and Brahmaputra, there is less evaperation and less trees to act as sponges to soak up the water, and reduce surface run off. The result is more water entering the rivers and raising River levels, increasing flooding Increased Burning Off Fossil Fuels and Deforsetation All Over The Earth.
Increased need for fuels for vechiles, and homes, Mainly in the west. Also rich people want more luxeries and different materials need to be produced. More carbon dioxide (co2) is being emmited into the atmosphere, less trees are available to take in the co2 and change it into oxygen. This has lead to global warming, which has changed climates all over the earth. In Asia, the climate change has been mostly more precipitation, which adds to the river levels Indian Government Building Dam. The Indian government built the dam at Farraka to provide electricity o parts of major cities such as Calcutta, also to reduce flooding in there country. The building of a dam leads to a decrease in the velocity of the flow of a river, there the sediment in a river settles faster, which means that the river bed level rises, which causes water levels to rise, increasing the chance of flooding. The Population Build-Up On The Flood Plains In Bengladesh.
Due to a steep rise in population in Bangladesh, the urban areas have become over-crowded, thus these areas have been spilling out into the areas most affected by flooding, As people have been looking for new reas to build there homes and graze there animals. More people living on the flood plains leads to more casaulties, and means that the bengali government need to pay for flood defences in a greater variety of areas. If more people keep moving to the areas prone to flooding the risks and loss are high. Excessive Development In Bengladesh In an already crowded Bangladesh, more developments are being built, harming the enviorment, and Rivers are now posing a greater risk then ever before due to the way they are being used. New housing areas are now being built on land formely used in agriculture, and these areas re well known flood plains which get flooded annualy. Housing and other developemnts being destroyed by well chartetd floods that occur annually.
This counts as an extra cost picked up by the bengali government. More lives lost. Below is an annotated map of the region Bengladesh and its surrondings, it shows the course of the main rivers and other pysichal features. A drainage basin is an area of land which is drained by a river. An example of a dranage basin is shown below. This diagram shows a drainage basin, a drainage basin is the topographic region from which a rivers receives it’s runoff, hroughflow, and groundwater flow. Drainage basins are divided from each other by natural barriers called watersheds. A watershed represents all of the river’s tributaries that flow to some location along the river’s channel. There are several ideas that could help Bangladesh guard and protect against flooding, however several things have to be taken into account, for example the cost, the effectiveness and weather the idea is going to deal with the after marth of the flood or stop the flood in the first place.
If they build embankments all along the rivers, they would have to be m high in order to be effective, it would be very expensive but will stop flooding all together, a bad side to this idea is that water flow back into the river would cease, incresaing the amount of stagnant water, which could lead to more mosquitos carrying maleria which is a big problem in that area. I think this is a good idea, the bad effects can be dealt with and maybe are minimal compared to what could happen if they don’t build these embankments. If they decide to provide medical supplies to villages and train villagers in basic healthcare, they are not protecting themselves gainst the flood but instead preparing for the causes of the floods.
This idea isnt expensive, and would be affective if there was a major flood. I believe this is a good idea as it will provide immediate help for the injured and it isnt to costly. Building flood protection shelters in each village is a litte costly, the shelters would be built on stilts and be able to house and protect 1000 people, however these buildings have be known to be swept away. I think this idea isnt very good, as it isnt very safe and it doesn’t help stop the problem. Providing emergency stores of farm replacemnts is very cheap and would elp a lot of farmers in the region. It would also help get the farmers back to work very quickly. This idea isnt very good because it shuns away from the problem of flooding, it deals with the conseqeunces and not the problem. Sinking new tubewells would ensure safe drinking water for all people affected by floods in Bangladesh and reduces the amount of deaths due to people not drinking safe water.
This idea isnt very expensive, I like this idea and think it would realy help the popel of Bengladesh. Constructing a new communication centre would help organise vacuations and provide information for the people Bengladesh, its quite costly but would help a lot. This solution is a good one as it would help a lot and save a lot of lives. I think that the government of Bengladesh should build embankments all along the river, this would stop flooding all together in this country, and it would save thoushands of lives, a lot of money in the long run and the country’s economy. This will help the people of Bangladesh immensly, allowing them to build of land that is sometimes prone to flooding and also will help to cut out flooding that area for the forseeable furture.