Flood proneness and coping strategies: the experiences of two villages in Bangladesh

Authors

  • Shitangsu Kumar Paul,

    1. Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
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    • As of September 2009, Shitangsu K. Paul is conducting a doctoral study in Regional and Rural Development Planning at the School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.

  • Jayant K. Routray

    1. Professor, Regional and Rural Development Planning, School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand
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Correspondence
Shitangsu Kumar Paul, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh. E-mail: shitangsuk@yahoo.com or st105214@ait.ac.th
Jayant K. Routray, Professor, Regional and Rural Development Planning (RRDP), School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD), Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand. Telephone: +66 2 5245609; fax: +66 2 5246431; e-mail: routray@ait.ac.th

Abstract

This paper explores peoples' indigenous survival strategies and assesses variations in people's ability to cope with floods in two flood-prone villages in Bangladesh. It reveals that people continuously battle against flood vulnerability in accordance with their level of exposure and abilities, with varied strategies employed at different geophysical locations. The paper reports that people in an area with low flooding and with better socioeconomic circumstances are more likely to cope with impacts compared to people in areas with high and sudden flooding. Similarly, households' ability to cope varies depending on people's socioeconomic conditions, such as education, income and occupation. Although floods in Bangladesh generate socioeconomic misery and cause damage to the environment, health and infrastructure, people's indigenous coping strategies have helped them to reduce significantly their vulnerability. Such flood-mitigating strategies should be well recognised and emphasised further via proper dissemination of information through an early-warning system and subsequently external assistance.

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