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Coastal livelihood and physical infrastructure in Bangladesh after cyclone Aila

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This paper aimed at to explore the consequences of cyclone victims due to unavailability of infrastructural supports and to prop up the recognition that the infrastructure has a vital role to play in societies’ resilience during catastrophic situation. The paper begins with a review of the science regarding climate change impact and cyclone disaster in Bangladesh. It emphasizes the consequences of cyclone Aila in a selected coastal community in the remote coastal area. A field survey was conducted by authors during March-August 2009. Eight available infrastructures were selected for this analysis. Uniformity of distribution (R), demand index (Di) and degree of demand (DD) of the selected infrastructures were calculated by using nearest neighbourhood methods of analysis. Results show that based on its specific planning standards none of the selected infrastructure can support 50% of the total population. Accordingly, it was observed that 76% respondent could not reach in safer place due to rush of water intrusion and also because of the inundation of road-network. The nearness to the available cyclone shelter, and place of taking shelter during cyclone is positively correlated (r = 0.38; p < 0.001). However, the poor people had less opportunity to take shelter in cyclone shelters, although none of the respondents groups whose monthly income is above 75 USD stands without any infrastructural support. Such important observation may hint the influence of local elites on the local disaster mitigation planning practice in Bangladesh. Almost 90% of the respondents claimed that they had no access to enter the available cyclone shelter. Furthermore, the damaged infrastructures added more hindrances during post disaster activities and also increased the sufferings of the victims. If there were adequate cyclone shelters or rehabilitation centre, the affected people could take shelter and continue other works temporarily. Results drawn from this research will be useful for local and national level planners, as well as international donors for future disaster mitigation planning in the studied area and the methodology can be applied in similar countries and geographical territories.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 3


  1. Union is the third lowest tier of official administrative unit of local government in Bangladesh

  2. The upazilas are the second lowest tier of administrative unit of local government in Bangladesh.

  3. The Districts are the first tier of administrative unit of local government in Bangladesh


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This research was supported by a doctoral study grant from the Catholic Academic Exchange Service (KAAD), Germany and field research grants from Karlsruhe House of Young Scientists (KHYS) of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Special thanks go to the community leaders and victims of cyclone Aila who supported and participated in this research work. Thoughtful comments from the anonymous reviewers and the journal editors are also sincerely appreciated.

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Correspondence to Khan Rubayet Rahaman.

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Mallick, B., Rahaman, K.R. & Vogt, J. Coastal livelihood and physical infrastructure in Bangladesh after cyclone Aila. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 16, 629–648 (2011).

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