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River Case Study: LEDC Flooding in Bangladesh, July September
Where: Bangladesh (Asia).
When: July to September 1998.
Melting snow in the Himalayas adding water to the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers.
More than ½ of Bangladesh is 5m or less above sea level.
The country lies across a huge river delta. A delta is a low lying flat area formed
from sediment deposited by a river as it enters the sea.
Some flooding is normal. It benefits the economy of the area by providing fresh
nutrients in the deposited river silt and by increasing soil depth.
Some 92% of the area of the drainage basins which feed into Bangladesh is in other
Flooding in Bangladesh is often blamed on deforestation in the Himalayas foothills.
Some experts believe that this affects of this are exaggerated.
The Ganges has been diverted for irrigation purposes (to fields of crops). This has
the effect of removing silt from the main river channel and therefore when it floods
further downstream there is less silt deposited on Bangladesh's floodplains.
Bangladesh's increasing population requires fresh water. This has lead to the building
of over 100,000 new wells. This has caused the water table to be lowered and
therefore has caused subsidence (sinking land) by as much as 2.5 cm per year.
Bangladesh is in debt and cannot afford to pay for flood defence schemes.
Private investors from overseas want to see quick profits and are not interested in
long term investment in flood protection schemes.
Bangladesh needs to export more. Money gets diverted into exports rathr then flood
Many existing flood defences do not work.
Corruption is taking money away from flood protection schemes.
The effects of the floods;
2/3rds of the country flooded.
130 million cattle perished.
23.5 million people made homeless.
2 ½ million farmers affected.
11,000 km of roads damaged.
6,500 bridges damaged.
1000+ schools damaged.
Some areas left under water for over 2 months.
Seen as the worst floods of the 20th Century.
After the flood;
Health risks water supplies contaminated for ¼ of a million people.
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¼ million people got diarrhoea.
Crowded flood shelters helped spread diseases.
Relief Getting supplies to people made difficult.
Roads and railways were cut.
Communication links down.
Main port of Chittagong closed to shipping for weeks.
Economy The costs to Bangladesh's economy.
400 clothing factories closed.
Production of shrimp and garments down by 20% = Bangladesh's main export.
Shipping impossible through Chittagong.
Electricity supplies disrupted.…read more