Flood warning responses of farmer households: a case study in Uria Union in the Brahmaputra flood plain, Bangladesh



Mohammad Aminur Rahman Shah, Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) House – 6, Road-23/C, Gulshan-1, Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh

Email: smaminur@yahoo.com


Flood warning aims at reducing flood damage through an adequate response. However, where warnings are provided, the response and particularly the factors that influence the response are often poorly understood. This paper presents a study of the response to flood warnings taken by farmer households in an agricultural area in the Brahmaputra flood plains in Bangladesh. Interviews with experts and a survey of farmer households were used to analyse the flood early warning system and the response to warnings during the 2007 flood event. Results show that warnings received from multiple sources increased confidence as information could be cross-checked, despite that information originating from a single source. Responses included saving livestock, family members and household assets. It was found that the response was influenced mainly by the source(s) of warnings, the quality of information, visibility of floods, the personality of the warning recipient, as well as the ability to bear the costs. Differences in these factors were found, depending on if the farmers were located in high or low flood-prone areas. Through this understanding of the response, suggestions to improve flood warning information are given, although further research on the socio-economic aspects of flood response decisions is recommended.