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Cyclone Sidr: World Bank Assistance to Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Recovery from Cyclone Sidr

Bangladesh: Recovery from Cyclone Sidr

World Bank Assistance to Bangladesh

*Moist areas are highlighted to show where storm surge flooded in the town of Jalakhati, Barisal division. (UNOSAT - Satellite data as on November 19, 2007)


December 16, 2007 - Praful Patel, Vice President, World Bank, recently visited the cyclone-affected Kalapara upazilla of Patuakhali District and Barisal division. Patel also flew over southern coastal areas, covering Kuakata, Patharghata, and Shoronkhola, as well as the Sundarbans forest to observe the devastation caused by the Cyclone Sidr.

I was shocked to see the devastation caused by Cyclone Sidr and its impact on the people,” said Patel. “Even after one month, the damage remains evident. The experience was clearly dreadful and the challenge of recovery is enormous. But I was also moved by the people’s resilience and their drive to get back on their feet.”

At the conclusion of the visit, Patel has discussed two key areas that are needed to be addressed in order to succeed in a long-term disaster management and mitigation efforts.
1. Economic challenges faced by Bangladesh
2. Challenge of climate change

Immediately after the Cyclone Sidr, the World Bank offered up to offered up to US$ 250 million assistance to cover immediate, medium-term and long-term needs.

1. The first part of this assistance strategy is designed to support the country's immediate budget needs with $100 million from original $75 million.
2. $50 million has been allocated for livelihood restoration support to support the post-cyclone recovery.
3. The remaining $125 million, is for supporting the long-term vision of disaster prevention and management This would involve activities like building and repairing embankments as well as more shelters.

The World Bank recently provided US$ 75 million in budget support following the devastating floods and is preparing additional support of US$122 million by reallocating funds from the current International Development Association commitment to Bangladesh.

The Bank is engaging the Government in a planning process that looks at coastal zone management, precisely the area that is most vulnerable in Bangladesh. This will include building climate resilience into infrastructure design, strengthening mangrove and tidal shelter belts. There is a need to integrate adaptation strategy into all policy making and new infrastructure decisions.

Patel reiterated that the World Bank is fully committed and stands ready to contribute in whichever way possible, to the government's long-term disaster management and mitigation efforts. "We will closely work with the government, development partners, NGOs and the local community on some suggested interventions that I have outlined to make a difference to the lives of Bangladeshi people," said Patel.


Economic challenges faced by Bangladesh

Bangladesh has been burdened by three adverse shocks this year. First, is the unabated increase in the price of oil. Second, is the damage caused by the floods in July-September and third, is the destruction by Cyclone Sidr.

The increased oil prices likely to contribute 2.3% in losses to the national GDP, which amounts to $1.6 billion. The rising oil and fertilizer prices are likely to place an inordinate fiscal burden on the federal budget in 2008.

While firm estimates of damages caused by Cyclone Sidr are not available yet, the preliminary numbers on damages suggest that the magnitude of loss suffered by the economy due to the two natural disasters is very large—floods causing over $1 billion and cyclone probably over $2 billion.

The Bangladesh government alone cannot deal with a problem of such enormous magnitude. “I appeal to everyone, most specifically to our development partners, to come forward and help the country in this hour of need,” said Patel.


Challenge of climate change

Bangladesh’s future is trapped between the melting Himalayas in the north and the encroaching Bay of Bengal to the south. Together with climate change, this makes Bangladesh extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. As recent research has shown, climate change is projected to worsen the intensity and frequency of natural disasters. Of course that will adversely impact development and, as always, the poor will suffer the most. The climate change issue puts Bangladesh in a more difficult situation. The challenge now is natural disaster augmented by climate change.


Additional Resources

- Climate Change in South Asia
Climate change is no longer an issue for the distant future. Climate change is already taking place, and the South Asian countries, particularly the poorest people, are most at risk. (Read More »)

- Blog - End Poverty in South Asia
Shanta Devarajan, World Bank Chief Economist for South Asia, shares insights about the fight against poverty in the region. (Read More »)

- South Asia: Development Data
A wide range of social and economic measures on South Asia, including links to the World Bank's most important online development databases. (Read More »)

- South Asia: Analysis and Research
Compilation of all the World Bank's publications on South Asia, with 'search' options and links to analysis and research on other South Asian countries. (Read More »)

- World Bank Program in South Asia
Launching pad to all information on World Bank activities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.(Read More »)




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