I. ENVIRONMENT AND ASSESSMENT OF FLOOD IMPACTS
E. Effects of floods on social and economic conditions
1. Information on flood damage
With regard to flood damage, the information available is incomplete and inconsistent. This can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, flood damage in Bangladesh has not been annually assessed in a systematic way; except in terms of major flood years with a view to mobilizing internal and external support to overcome the major damage. For normal years, however, hardly any consistent data is available. Secondly, there sometimes appears to be a tendency to overestimate the extent of the damage. Flood assessments are generally prepared by various institutions and are then compiled together into an overall flood damage assessment. This sector-wise assessment tends to exacerbate the tendency for overestimation of damage. Thirdly, infrastructures are not well maintained in Bangladesh. Roads and embankments, for example, are not properly maintained, and the same applies to houses, offices etc. Thus, whenever there is a natural disaster, damages which have occurred over the years due to poor maintenance would be correlated to a major flood event. Fourthly, in the case of crop losses, it is quite often the case that destroyed crops are partially replanted, provided the flooding does not last too long. A part of or even the total amount of the loss may thus be recovered during the later part of the same season. Damage assessments do not always take this into consideration. In addition, it happens quite often that damages in affected areas are largely compensated or even overcompensated for by substantially higher yields in non-affected areas when high rainfall provides sufficient residual moisture to the following crops.
Due to the above-mentioned reasons, the flood damage figures have to be viewed and analyzed cautiously. Among various sectoral ministries/agencies, only the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief maintains records of overall assessment of flood damages. The information on damages covers:
Although this list is not complete (since damage to industries, railway lines and social life, for example, is not included) and while the damages are given only in physical terms, this seems to be the most reliable source at hand for a record of assessment of past flood damage.