Original Research

Enhancing landslide risk reduction strategies in Southeast Bangladesh

Edris Alam, Md K. Islam
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 15, No 1 | a1541 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v15i1.1541 | © 2023 Edris Alam, Md K. Islam | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2023 | Published: 22 December 2023

About the author(s)

Edris Alam, Faculty of Resilience, Rabdan Academy, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Md K. Islam, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering, King Faisal University, AlAhsa, Saudi Arabia

Abstract

Since 2000, landslides in southeast Bangladesh have resulted in over 700 deaths, most of which were in informal settlements. For instance, the 2007 landslides in informal settlements in Chittagong and the 2017 landslides in Rangamati took 127 and 150 lives, respectively. Although the government of Bangladesh claims to implement risk reduction, the number of deaths associated with landslides is increasing. Hence, this study investigated the ways to enhance landslide risk reduction interventions by addressing several scientific and technical issues related to disaster risk reduction. This study conducted focus group discussions, key informant interviews and expert interviews with key stakeholders in landslide risk management to collect qualitative data. Moreover, the historical accounts of settlements, media reporting, institutional action plans and policies were reviewed.

Contribution: By integrating primary and secondary data, this study found that several political–economic aspects are major anthropogenic contributors to the recent increase in landslides in the region. The contributing factors included the following: policy and action plans to raise regional population; land management; illegal deforestation; plans to establish hydroelectricity in hilly areas; ownership of settlements; manipulation of water, gas and electricity supply to illegal settlements; commercial plantations; lack of risk governance; unplanned development activities; natural population rise; increased settlement along hill slopes. This study identified and discussed lessons learned from previous landslide disasters, the weakness of early warning systems and their dissemination and ways to improve evacuation, rescue, relief and risk reduction. Finally, this study formulated recommendations for the effective implementation of landslide risk reduction in southeast Bangladesh.


Keywords

landslide; hazard; risk reduction; preparedness; evacuation

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

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