Bangladesh is one of the most disaster‐prone countries in the world and extremely vulnerable to climate change because of its geophysical settings. The country is low‐laying and flat with huge inland water bodies, including some of the biggest rivers in the world. Flooding is an annual recurring event during the monsoon season, when 80% of the annual amount of rain falls. Apart from floods, Bangladesh grapples with strong tropical storms and cyclones in the southern coastal belt, as well as droughts and earthquakes.
According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index1 due to its climate hazard scenarios, its extreme levels of poverty and a high dependency on agriculture, whilst its government has the lowest capacity of all countries to adapt to predicted changes in climate. Climate change will severely challenge the country’s ability to achieve the high rates of economic growth needed to sustain reduction in poverty.
During the last few years the government has acknowledged the extreme importance of prioritizing mitigation and preparedness strategies to cope with disasters and to adapt to climate risks. Although there is progress in the development and set‐up of cyclone and flood early warning systems, prevention and preparedness actions are still not paid as much attention to as needed to fully prepare the communities in risk areas for the annual natural extreme events.
What is needed therefore is an increased confidence from both sides, sender and receiver, to issue and act upon early warning messages. To reinstall this confidence, pre‐defined early actions for preparedness are required that are conducted based on a certain forecast, that are understood by everyone and that are appropriate for the amount of uncertainty in the forecast, neither over‐ nor under‐reacting.