Reducing the health effect of natural hazards in Bangladesh

Bangladesh, with a population of 151 million people, is a country that is particularly prone to natural disasters: 26% of the population are affected by cyclones and 70% live in flood-prone regions. Mortality and morbidity from these events have fallen substantially in the past 50 years, partly because of improvements in disaster management. Thousands of cyclone shelters have been built and government and civil society have mobilised strategies to provide early warning and respond quickly. Increasingly, flood and cyclone interventions have leveraged community resilience, and general activities for poverty reduction have integrated disaster management. Furthermore, overall population health has improved greatly on the basis of successful public health activities, which has helped to mitigate the effect of natural disasters. Challenges to the maintenance and reduction of the effect of cyclones and floods include rapid urbanisation and the growing effect of global warming. Although the effects of earthquakes are unknown, some efforts to prepare for this type of event are underway.

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