While the whole world is severely affected by the Corona, the terrible grip of natural disasters is still wreaking havoc on many people around the world. All the projections of scientists show that the number and severity of climate-related disasters are increasing due to climate change, which is cutting off the coronavirus infection and public health response in the wake of the epidemic. The compound risk arising from the perfect combination of corona and natural disasters is having an unprecedented impact on economics, livelihoods, business, and education.
A global report was released on June 30 on the progress made by the United Nations in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the report, Bangladesh ranks 109th out of 16 countries in the world. Bangladesh ranks fifth among South Asian countries. According to the report, Bangladesh is on the right track in poverty alleviation. However, although it is successful in alleviating extreme poverty, the success rate in alleviating poverty is low. The hunger eradication indicators show that although Bangladesh has done well in three indicators, it is in a state of stagnation and two are facing challenges.
When the report was published, Bangladesh, like the rest of the world, was overwhelmed. Soon after the report was released, a large part of the country was facing long-term floods. In this context, the government has set a goal to free the country from poverty in order to achieve the SDGs, which are not possible to implement in time. However, development experts say that in order to continue achieving the SDG targets in the face of the Corona and floods, at least one crore of people will need to be provided with the necessary food aid for six months. As well as the need to rearrange the budget. There will be a lot of emphasis on poverty by restructuring funding.
Flood in Bangladesh is like a blow to the country! After the deteriorating flood situation in Kurigram, Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Sylhet, and Sunamganj districts, the southern part of the country is now flooded. However, the people of the south are still suffering from the effects of the Ampan. However, these situations are catastrophic not only in Bangladesh but also in the whole world during the Corona period. After the extreme damage in West Bengal Ampan, various provinces of India were affected by the floods. In April, the entire South Pacific Island Category 5 tropical cyclone suffered extensive damage. The coronal period saw unprecedented droughts in Zimbabwe, floods in Somalia, and severe droughts and wildfires in Australia.
Man is a small part of nature. But the rate at which people have tried to control nature (in vain) is inconceivable. Many call the coronavirus the “proper response of nature,” for which humans are responsible. Because people are exploiting nature and the animal kingdom. The coronavirus vaccine may come today or tomorrow, but there is no vaccine to protect against climate change. So, we have to think about climate, especially to survive natural disasters.
Natural disasters, such as flood, droughts, cyclones, and heat waves, are dealt with mainly by structural and non-structural (e.g., land use planning, flood monitoring, and public awareness). Scientists say to increase the application of nature-based solutions to deal with or reduce natural disasters, although the ideas for these solutions are relatively new. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says it is vital to focus on finding natural solutions to natural disasters. Similarly, Bangladesh is lightly talking about Delta Plan 2100 and nature-based solutions.
The social, economic (tourism and energy savings), and environmental (carbon storage and heat reduction) benefits of nature-based, green infrastructure or nature-based solutions are enormous. In addition, the co-benefits of these solutions are enormous, which include the climate action agenda (adaptation and mitigation), reducing the risk of natural disasters, and increasing the conservation of biodiversity.
Again, nature-based solutions prevent air, water, and noise pollution. Poor countries like Bangladesh need these strategies more because of the limitations of our investment in gray infrastructure. However, in the wake of climate change, natural disasters cannot be fully addressed with gray infrastructure, it is a proven fact.
The World Bank has shown that investment in nature-based solutions to deal with or reduce natural disasters is on the rise. In the 2012-2017 fiscal year, the World Bank invested 1.2 billion in nature-based solutions (in 34 projects) to reduce the effects of flooding and flooding. Since Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippine government has invested 22 million in mangrove and natural beach forest conservation. Following the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government spent about 2.5 billion Japanese yen on coastal forest expansion. According to the World Resource Institute, Vietnam has focused on re-establishing mangrove forests for coastal flood control, which will save about US 215 million. In order to control surface flooding, with green infrastructure predominating in urban design, China is investing heavily in building 30 Sponge Cities. In flood control of the city, Germany is also walking the path of China. We should invest more in nature-based solutions that are compatible with our country.
Natural disasters, such as floods, require short- and long-term effective measures for the control and proper implementation. For example, increasing the navigability of the river. In order to clean the course of the river, it is necessary to increase the navigability and water-holding capacity of the river by removing the silt accumulated in the course of the river by dredging with advanced technology. Where and how to increase the navigability of the river should be done on the basis of proper assessment. In this case, coordination between thematic research and technology is vital. Experts say the river’s natural energy needs to be used to increase depth.
The government needs to take continuous steps to address the causes of floods and waterlogging that are man-made. Flood control has no alternative but to clear rivers, canals, beels, haors, and other wetlands. It is impossible to control floods in many district towns including Dhaka and Chittagong metropolis by filling the wetlands around the city and blocking the normal flow of water. In order to reduce waterlogging in the city, it is necessary to plan, formulate and implement proper design for the entire city and surrounding areas without finding area-based solutions. All in all, the solution is not flood control, but management.
During the Corona period, the middle and lower-middle-class families of the country are going through the most hardships. Many have become poor. Although the income has decreased, the amount of expenditure has remained the same. In order to run the household, the working people of the village and the members of the working middle and lower-middle-class families have to work hard. Ongoing floods have multiplied the suffering of middle- and lower-class people. Every year floods, flash floods, and cyclones cause extensive loss of life and property. In fact, we live with it. Therefore, it is time to take long-term sustainable action to deal with floods and storms. Public-private assistance during the floods is insufficient. If the post-flood rehabilitation plan is not properly formulated and implemented, the economic crisis in rural areas will intensify.
Sustainable disaster response depends a lot on how much emphasis we place on nature-based solutions. According to the report of the fifth assessment of the IPCC, Bangladesh is facing many big challenges due to climate change. If we do not succeed in tackling this disaster, it will not be possible to build a safe, climate-resistant, prosperous delta.
Author is an Executive Editor
The Environment Review