Local Perspective on Loss and Damage in the Context of Extreme Events: Insights from Cyclone-affected Communities in Coastal Bangladesh


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This paper investigates how loss and damage from extreme events are being experienced at the local level – in this case, cyclones in the coastal region of Khulna – and what approaches are being used to address it. To better understand how communities in Bangladesh are experiencing loss and damage from extreme events, in this case, cyclones Sidr (2007) and Aila (2009), primary research was undertaken in six affected communities in Khulna. Based on surveys and semi-structured interviews, the study sought to better understand the losses and damages experienced by these communities as a result of the cyclones. The desk-based component of the research undertaken for this paper examined the initial response of the government and other humanitarian agencies to provide post-cyclone relief and facilitate recovery. The paper also provides an overview of gaps and needs and provides recommendations to better address loss and damage from cyclones and other extreme events at the local level.

Many of those surveyed during the study suffered extensive loss and damage during cyclones Sidr and Aila, losing their livelihoods, homes and productive
assets, among other losses and damages, incurred. Some of the community members interviewed during the study reported that they were left destitute in the wake of Sidr and Aila. Cyclone Aila in particular led to significant emigration as a result of a loss of livelihood opportunities in the six villages. The cyclones also had long-term implications on food security as rice harvests significantly decreased, fisheries were greatly affected and freshwater supplies diminished in the wake of increased salinization. In response to the adverse impacts of the cyclones, affected communities adopted a variety of coping strategies, some of which led them to be worse off than before. For instance, children in some households were taken out of school so that they could contribute to income-generating activities and help to sustain the livelihood of their families, and erosive coping strategy that could cause an intergenerational transfer of poverty and vulnerability (UNICEF, 2009).

  • Publication date : 30th June, 2013
  • Publisher: The Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD)
  • Author(s): Md. Shamsuddoha, Dr. Mahmudul Islam, Mohammed Atikul Haque, M. Forruq Rahman, Erin Roberts, Anna Hasemann and Stephen Roddick
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