BLOG SURF: Building resilience

While flying along the coast of Bangladesh earlier this year, I saw from the sky a vast, serene delta landscape, crisscrossed by innumerable rivers and contoured paddy fields.

Nonetheless, I was aware that this apparent quietude might well be the calm before a storm. Indeed. the magnitude of threats faced by Bangladesh is unprecedented in terms of risk, exposure and vulnerability.

And with a population of 160 million, the country is one of the world’s most disaster prone and vulnerable to tropical cyclones, storm surges, floods, a changing climate and even earthquakes.

However, the story of Bangladesh is one of resilience.

After the deadly cyclones of 1970 and 1991, which together resulted in the loss of at least half a million lives, the government of Bangladesh instituted disaster risk reduction policies and invested in infrastructure and community-based early warning systems to reduce risks from coastal hazards.