Have coastal embankments reduced flooding in Bangladesh?

Authors: Mohammed Sarfaraz Gani Adnan, Anisul Haque, Jim W.Hall

From the 1960s, embankments have been constructed in south western coastal region of Bangladesh to provide protection against flooding, but the success of the polder programme is disputed. The authors present analysis of floods during the years 1988–2012, diagnosing whether the floods were attributable to monsoonal precipitation (pluvial flooding), high upstream river discharge into the tidal delta (fluvio-tidal flooding), or cyclone-induced storm surges. They find that whilst polders have provided protection against storm surges and fluvio-tidal events of moderate severity, they have exacerbated more frequent pluvial flooding and promoted potential flooding impacts during the most extreme storm surges.

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Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Section, Programme Division, UNICEF

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