II. FLOOD LOSS REDUCTION AND REVIEW OF PAST EXPERIENCES
A. Flood mitigation measures
2. Non-structural measuresFlood forecasting and warning: The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), established in 1972, is responsible for river flood forecasts and flood warnings during the flood season. At present, the FFWC issues river stages forecast for 21 stations on major and medium rivers where slowly rising floods occur, formulated for lead times of 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) is responsible for forecasts and warnings of tropical cyclones and storm surges from the Bay of Bengal.
Flood preparedness: In Bangladesh, there is an institutional arrangement for flood preparedness under a National Guideline called 'Emergency Standing Order for Flood'. It outlines the actions of flood preparedness to be taken up by a large number of ministries (Ministries of Disaster Management and Relief, Water Resources, Agriculture, Information, Health, Public Works, Local Government, Communication and Defence), subordinate agencies, local councils and non-government organizations (NGO) in the three defined phases viz. before, during and after floods. The overall flood management programmes are coordinated by a National Coordination Committee. The recently formed Disaster Management Bureau under the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief is entrusted with the task of executing action programmes at the grass roots level. Nearly 21,000 volunteers of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society take part in the flood preparedness programmes in the storm surge flood-prone areas in the coastal region.
Flood proofing: Flood proofing of homesteads is a traditional precaution in the rural settlements of Bangladesh. Homesteads are generally raised above maximum flood levels. Recently a Bangladesh National Building Code (1993) has been prepared which stipulates that any area having a potential for being flooded to a depth of at least 1 meter should be designated as a Flood Prone Area (FPA). The Code specifies that the lowest floor, including the basement, of any building located in the FPA shall not be located below the design flood level, and the roof of one or two storey buildings and the floor immediately above the design flood level for three or more storey buildings shall be accessible via an exterior stairway.
Cyclone shelters are constructed in the coastal zone where human lives
are at high risk due to cyclonic storm surge floods. Shelters stand on
stilts so that flood water can pass through. Earthen mounds are constructed
for ovine/bovine protection. Currently there are about 1,500 cyclone shelters
(Sener, 1996). The Multipurpose Cyclone Shelter Master
Plan (BUET and BIDS, 1993) estimated that 2,500 new shelters with an accommodation
capacity of 4.4 million persons would be required. Over the years, there
has been a significant change of emphasis from designing the shelters solely
for use as flood shelters to designing them for multipurpose use. Shelters
are now designed as schools, health centers and other community service
centers for normal time use.