Population displacement after cyclone and its consequences: empirical evidence from coastal Bangladesh


This study investigates the disaster-induced population displacement scenario at individual household level in Bangladesh. ‘Population displacement’ is seen here as an alternative adaptation option to natural hazard for the survivors after cyclone Aila. The changes both in origin and destination community due to population displacement are described here on the basis of social ‘inclusion’ and ‘exclusion’ concept. The field survey was conducted during March–July 2010, and a sample of 280 respondents from 12 villages in southwest coastal Bangladesh was interviewed. Findings show that at the end of emergency aid, male members of the family started moving towards nearer cities to find an income. Based on the income and asset distribution at the community level, this study developed a societal cluster of displacement and demonstrates the societal changes because of cyclone-induced population displacement.

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  1. 1.

    For details about cyclone Aila, readers are referred to UNDP (2010) report on “Cyclone Aila: Joint UN Multi-Sector Assessment and Response Framework”.

  2. 2.

    Upazila is the second lowest official administrative unit of the local government in Bangladesh.

  3. 3.

    District is the top-tier official administrative unit of local government in Bangladesh.

  4. 4.

    A term used in Bangladesh and West Bengal of India for lowland rice grown in the wet season during June–November.

  5. 5.

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

  6. 6.

    Sundarbans is the world largest mangrove forest and declared as world heritage by UNESCO.

  7. 7.

    Principle component analysis (PCA) is a way of identifying the patterns in data, and expressing the similarities and differences in data.

  8. 8.

    A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments.


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This research was supported by a Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants from Catholic Academic Exchange Services (KAAD), Germany and Field Research Grant from Karlsruhe House of Young Scientists (KHYS) of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Authors are very grateful to Dr. R. Mcleman from Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada and Dr. Leah Vanwey of Brown University, USA for their insightful guidance through out the final paper preparation. Special thanks are given to Tommasina Miller for her supports in linguistic and grammatical edits. Thoughtful comments from the anonymous reviewers and the journal editor are also sincerely appreciated.

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Correspondence to Bishawjit Mallick.

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Mallick, B., Vogt, J. Population displacement after cyclone and its consequences: empirical evidence from coastal Bangladesh. Nat Hazards 73, 191–212 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-013-0803-y

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  • Population displacement
  • Societal cluster
  • Cyclone Aila
  • Social change
  • Coastal Bangladesh