Millions of people have been affected by intense monsoon rains in Bangladesh.
It has caused some of the worst flooding to ever hit the region, leaving millions of people displaced and many communities without electricity.
But this isn’t the first time the country has had to deal with heavy rains and destructive floods.
Read on to discover why Bangladesh is so prone to flooding, what’s causing it and how ShelterBox is responding.
Heavy monsoon rains and flash floods have submerged large parts of northeastern Bangladesh, leaving millions of people stranded or displaced.
The area was still recovering from heavy rains in late May.
Several rivers flow from India’s northeast through the low-lying wetlands of Bangladesh. But excess rainwater has not been able to drain because of how saturated the wetlands already were from the last month’s rains.
WHY DOES BANGLADESH FLOOD?
Bangladesh has hundreds of rivers and is vulnerable to flooding. It is a delta country, and most of it is located within the floodplains of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers.
It is also incredibly low-lying, with the majority of the country lying less than one metre above sea level.
This leaves Bangladesh vulnerable to flooding, as sea-level rise, changes in river water levels and the stresses that humans put on the land can all have devastating impacts.
Every year whole communities prepare themselves for the annual monsoon season, but this year Sylhet has seen its highest rainfall in more than a century.
Where is Bangladesh?
Bangladesh is a country in Asia. It sits in the Ganges River delta on the Bay of Bengal.
The country shares borders with India to the west, north and east. It also shares a small border with Myanmar in the southeast.
Is climate change causing flooding in Bangladesh?
Climate change is increasing the risks of floods globally, putting millions of people at risk.
Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable nations in the world. It is low-lying, has 700 rivers and faces threats from disasters such as floods and cyclones.
As global temperatures continue to rise, flooding is set to increase as heavier rain falls in areas that cannot cope with it.
The climate crisis is also causing more severe storms, and Bangladesh’s coastal region is hit by cyclones nearly every year.
Will Bangladesh sink into the sea?
According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, about 17% of people in Bangladesh will need to be relocated over the next decade or so if global warming continues at its current rate.
As a result of the flooding, a quarter of the country is currently under water.
If flooding happens every year, why do people stay in Bangladesh?
People often won’t have the choice to move elsewhere.
Factors like living conditions and poverty, government capacity to prepare and respond, as well as the process of rebuilding and how efficient that would be, are all factors that will define whether a disaster occurs as a result of the flooding.
HOW IS SHELTERBOX RESPONDING?
ShelterBox is sending an assessment team to Bangladesh to see if and how we can support people who have been affected by the flooding.
We’ve worked in Bangladesh many times, most recently in July 2019 when flooding left large swathes of the country underwater. We supported families who had lost their homes with essential aid items to help them rebuild and recover.
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