You are on page 1of 85

Women and Children Vulnerability during Cyclonic

disaster (SIDR, AILA)


Table of Contents

List of Figures..................................................................................................................................ii

ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................................1

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT...............................................................................................................2

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................3

1.1 The vulnerable group Women and Children.......................................................................4

1.2 Origin of the Study.................................................................................................................5

1.3 Purpose of the Study..............................................................................................................6

1.4 Objectives of the Study..........................................................................................................6

1.4.1 Broad Objective...............................................................................................................6

1.4.2 Specific Objectives..........................................................................................................7

1.5 Methodology..........................................................................................................................7

1.6 Background of the Study........................................................................................................7

1.6.1 History of Sidr.................................................................................................................8

1.6.2 Formation and Path of Cyclone "SIDR".........................................................................9

1.6.3 SIDR's Landfall.............................................................................................................10

1.6.4 The Cyclone Surge........................................................................................................11

1.6.5 Death Toll and Damages................................................................................................11

1.6.6 Warning Issued..............................................................................................................12

1.6.7 Past Cyclones and Cyclone Surges in Bangladesh...........................................................12

1.6.8 History of Aila...............................................................................................................13


1.6.9 Meteorological history..................................................................................................13

1.7 Limitations...........................................................................................................................15

CHAPTER 2: MATERIALS AND METHODS............................................................................16

2.1 Data Collection....................................................................................................................16

2.1.1 Primary Data..................................................................................................................16

2.1.2 Secondary data..............................................................................................................17

2.2 Methods................................................................................................................................17

2.2.1 Preparing the Questionnaire..........................................................................................17

2.2.2 Mobile Application........................................................................................................18

2.2.3 Data Analysis tool.........................................................................................................19

CHAPTER 3: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION.............................................................................21

3.1 Result...................................................................................................................................21

3.1.1 Analysis the data............................................................................................................21

3.1.1.1 vulnerable to cyclones...........................................................................................21

3.1.1.2 Education...............................................................................................................22

3.1.1.3 Shelter....................................................................................................................25

3.1.1.4 Assets.....................................................................................................................28

3.1.1.5 Livelihoods, Income and Expenditure...................................................................28

3.1.1.6 Migration...............................................................................................................32

3.1.1.7 Trafficking.............................................................................................................33

3.1.1.8 Child Marriage.......................................................................................................33


3.1.1.9 Health Care............................................................................................................34

3.1.1.10 Food and Nutrition...............................................................................................36

3.1.1.11 Violence...............................................................................................................39

3.2 Discussion............................................................................................................................41

3.2.1 Impacts of Cyclone Sidr............................................................................................41

3.2.1.1 Primary Impacts.....................................................................................................41

3.2.1.2 Secondary Impacts.................................................................................................41

3.2.1.3 Tertiary Impacts.....................................................................................................42

3.2.2 Impacts on Livelihood Strategies..................................................................................42

3.2.3 Capital Impact of the Sidr.........................................................................................43

3.2.4 Damage of disasters and the impacts on human being..................................................44

3.2.5 Damage by floods: aftermath of cyclonic disaster........................................................45

3.2.6 Damage by Cyclone Aila...............................................................................................45

3.2.7 Impacts on Women........................................................................................................46

3.2.7.1 Womens Context of Vulnerability in Reference to Physical and Social Setting. .47

3.2.7.2 Women are affected differently and more severely...............................................47

3.2.7.3 Impact on womens economic livelihoods............................................................48

3.2.7.3.1 Housing and homestead:.................................................................................48

3.2.7.3.2 Crop production loss.......................................................................................49

3.2.7.4 Migration...............................................................................................................49

3.2.7.5 Trafficking.............................................................................................................50
3.2.7.6 Employment...........................................................................................................51

3.2.7.7 Violence.................................................................................................................51

3.2.7.8 Health care.............................................................................................................52

3.2.7.9 Drinking water.......................................................................................................52

3.2.8 Damages of disaster and the impact on Children..........................................................54

3.2.8.1 Education...............................................................................................................54

3.2.8.2 Physical..................................................................................................................55

3.2.8.3 Psychological impact.............................................................................................55

3.2.8.4 Household impact (impact on the family due to the harm on children)................56

3.2.8.5 Migration...............................................................................................................56

3.2.8.6 Trafficking.............................................................................................................56

3.2.8.7 Marriage.................................................................................................................56

3.2.8.8 Health care.............................................................................................................56

3.2.9 Some other aspects of vulnerabilities...................................................................................57

3.2.9.1 Vulnerability due to location and pattern of settlement.........................................57

3.2.9.2 Vulnerability due to inappropriate land management systems..............................58

3.2.9.3 Vulnerability due to means of livelihood and a lack of infrastructure...................59

3.2.10 Women and children vulnerability in western world..........................................................61

3.2.11 Women and children vulnerability in Asia..........................................................................62

Chapter 4: Summary......................................................................................................................63

4.1 Local responses: pre cyclone...............................................................................................63


4.2 Local peoples survival strategies during the cyclonic surge...............................................64

4.3 Peoples coping strategies post cyclone...............................................................................64

4.4 Womens current coping strategies and adaptation.............................................................65

4.5 Avoidance or Prevention Strategies.....................................................................................66

4.5.1 Predicting and preparing for disasters...........................................................................66

4.5.2 Protecting houses and homesteads................................................................................66

4.5.3 Storing essential items...................................................................................................67

4.5.4 Teaching children..........................................................................................................67

4.6 Managing Strategies.............................................................................................................67

4.6.1 Safety of family members.............................................................................................67

4.6.2 Ensuring food security...................................................................................................68

4.6.3 Protecting assets............................................................................................................68

4.6.4 Household work............................................................................................................68

4.6.5 Managing finance by borrowing credit, selling and mortgaging assets........................69

4.6.6 Migration and alternative employment.........................................................................69

4.7 Country to Country, Regional and International Cooperation.............................................69

4.8 Addressing the different components of vulnerability of children.......................................70

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION......................................................................................................71

Appendix........................................................................................................................................73

References......................................................................................................................................76
List of Figures
Figure 1: Cyclone Sidr (Satellite image).........................................................................................9

Figure 2: Two NASA satellite photos show Cyclone "SIDR" as it approaches the coast of
Bangladesh.....................................................................................................................................10

Figure 3: Cyclonic Storm Tracks...................................................................................................11

Figure 4: Cyclone Aila (Satellite image).......................................................................................14

Figure 5: ODK build Survey Questionnaire tool...........................................................................18

Figure 6: ODK Mobile Application...............................................................................................18

Figure 7: ODK Survey screen and data synchronization...............................................................19

Figure 8: ODK Aggregate Control Panel.......................................................................................19

Figure 9: ODK Aggregate Analysis tool........................................................................................20

Figure 10: Perceived vulnerability of women in coastal island.....................................................46

Figure 11: Life during disaster.......................................................................................................49

Figure 12: Temporary School........................................................................................................54

Figure 13: Children needs other's help to survive.........................................................................55

Figure 14: People are moving toward the cyclone shelter.............................................................59

Figure 15: The lack of a proper transport infrastructure is another important factor in peoples
vulnerability to cyclone disasters...................................................................................................60

Figure 16: Gender based violence after Katrina............................................................................61

Figure 17: Violation of security, dignity and privacy....................................................................65

Figure 18: But life goes on............................................................................................................66

i|Page
ii | P a g e
ABSTRACT

Due to geographical location and geological pattern, Bangladesh is prone to various types of
disasters and vulnerabilities caused by climate change. Among others, disasters like cyclones
have devastating impacts on livelihoods and economy which adversely affect every aspect of
human life specially the most vulnerable group - women and children. Their rights to survival,
protection, clean water, sanitation, food, health and education remain in serious threat due to
disasters. In Bangladesh, women and children are more vulnerable than men generally to all
kinds of disasters and climate related impacts due to gender inequalities in various social and
economic perspectives. Natural disasters that have occurred in recent years, both in developing
and in developed countries, it is primarily the poor who have suffered the most and all over
the world, more precisely the women and children, who at all levels earn less than men and their
physical abilities to cope up with disaster aftermath are also slighter than men. Because of
womens marginalized status and dependence on local natural resources, their domestic burdens
get increased, including additional work to fetch water, or to collect fuel and fodder after the
disaster. Moreover, in some areas, the consequences after the resource shortages and unreliable
job markets, which lead to increased male-out migration and more women left behind with
additional agricultural and households duties. Poor womens lack of access to and control over
natural resources, technologies and credit mean that they have fewer resources to cope with
seasonal and episodic weather and natural disasters. At the same time children especially
adolescent girls suffers from early marriage, drop out from school, health injuries and more. A
proper disaster preparedness and social awareness could be a solution to decrease the
vulnerability of women and children during disaster.

1|Page
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

2|Page
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

3|Page
1.1 The vulnerable group Women and Children

In Bangladesh, women and children are more vulnerable than men generally to all kinds of
disasters and climate related impacts due to gender inequalities in various social, economic and
political institutions. Men tend to control income distribution, property, access to credit,
decision-making processes, and sources of food. Women have limited access to and control over
natural resources, or money and more importantly are less mobile and have limited access to
information. When a cyclone and floods hit Bangladesh in 1991, the death rate for women was
almost five times higher than for men. Men were able to warn each other as they met in public
spaces, but they rarely communicated information to the rest of the family. Many women are not
allowed to leave their homes without a male relative, and simply waited for their relatives to
return home and take them to a safe place. In saline and drought prone areas where fresh water is
in short supply further stress is put on women who have responsibility to supply it to their
families; often being forced to walk long distances, risking their health and their safety in the
process.

On the other hand, disasters like cyclones have devastating impacts on livelihoods and economy
which adversely affect every aspect of childrens daily life. Childrens rights to survival,
protection, clean water, sanitation, food, health and education remain in serious threat due to
disasters. Children especially adolescent girls suffers from early marriage, drop out from school,
health injuries and more. A proper disaster preparedness and social awareness could be a solution
to decrease the vulnerability of women and children during disaster.

For a strong and sustainable disaster management system, Bangladesh has constituted fund in
different levels with donations from home and abroad and is developing an insurance system to
cover losses of property with public- private partnership. Within these initiatives, issues
surrounding childrens vulnerabilities are being given emphasis. Special provisions are being
incorporated in preparedness and resilience strategies to address different components of
vulnerabilities of women and children. As part of initial preparedness initiatives provisions are
there to ensure social safety net protection for women and children. Programmes to give support
4|Page
of food and nutrition, healthcare and neonatal care to the poor have been included within the
development planning and ongoing budget framework. During the disasters, particular strategies
have been introduced to protect lives of women and children. To address childrens traumatic
situation and to help them in resuming their institutional study within the shortest possible time
after the disasters several efforts have been made by the Government along with other
development partners. However, these are not enough and need to be more efficiently
coordinated and planned.

The perspective of this research is to understand the difficulties faced by the women and children
during cyclonic disaster and discuss some remedies to overcome it.

1.2 Origin of the Study

The literature has been prepared based on both primary and secondary data. The primary data has
been collected from

a. Disaster management professionals


b. Experts
c. People from the locality (survey)

And the secondary data has been collected through

a. Journals
b. Books
c. Internet

A list of secondary data source has been given in bibliography.

5|Page
1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to understand the difficulties faced by the women and children,
during cyclonic disaster, impact of those difficulties even after the disaster period is over and
discuss some remedies to overcome it.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The research aimed to identify the contexts within which people are vulnerable to cyclone
hazards and consequent local responses to living with cyclone disasters in the coastal zones of a
country.

More specifically, it sought:

To examine the origins of vulnerability due to cyclonic hazards on women and children
on the Bangladesh coast; and

To identify adaptation strategies and coping before, during and after cyclone disasters
in the light of local peoples past experiences.

1.4.1 Broad Objective


The broad objective of the study is to measure the impact of the cyclone or natural disasters on
people who are being affected the most and to ensure the possible sectors to improve their
conditions. Given the magnitude of the adverse impacts of natural disasters, community
perception, predictions and survival strategies are necessary to combat natural disaster,
especially in the context of Indigenous communities like Bangladesh who have been living in
the extreme vulnerable zones for quite a long time and surviving mostly without outside help.
The present research intends to compile environmental concerns and traditional environmental
knowledge of Bangladesh, an indegenous community living in the coastal area for centuries.

6|Page
1.4.2 Specific Objectives

To get present overview of the Sidr, Aila affected women and children.
To get an idea about the service offering to them.
To assess the impact of the Sidr and Aila
To examine their survival strategies at the face and pace of cyclones
To analyze their shortcomings and improvement areas on the target sector by doing study
on The impact on women and children during the sidr, aila etc.

1.5 Methodology
To meet the objectives of the study I realized that a single method would not be very effective.
Questionnaire survey, formal and oral discussion, direct observation, printed papers of the
various organizations were found helpful. Data has been collected both from primary and
secondary resource. A list of references has been provided in bibliography.

1.6 Background of the Study


Bangladesh is a low-lying deltaic country in South Asia. Around 145 million people live within
its 147,570 sq. km territory. This densely populated country is characterized by a young age
structure. Children under 18 years of age constitute about 45% of the population.

Because of geographical location, configuration, plenty of rivers and tributaries and monsoon
weather, Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and diverse exposure
of natural disasters. Impacts of global warming, like other parts in the world, are being
increasingly observed in the gradual change of climatic behaviour in Bangladesh. As a result
Bangladesh frequently experiences multiple hazards like floods, cyclones, droughts, salinity,
water-logging, river and coastal erosion, hailstorms, tornados, tidal surge, earthquake, landslides,
tsunami and fire. Particularly, other than regular flooding which has traditionally been beneficial
in Bangladesh, low frequency but high magnitude floods have devastating impacts on livelihoods
and the economy. Besides, the country remains as one of the worst sufferers of cyclone casualties
in the world. Riverbank erosion causes the loss of productive land areas annually. Droughts are
also the common occurrences resulting in less or no yield of crops. Because of the high

7|Page
vulnerability and occurrences of the worst sufferings, Bangladesh is currently ranked as the most
climate vulnerable country in the world. According to the projection of the InterGovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), both the frequency and intensity of cyclones in the Bay of
Bengal are likely to increase and the depth and spatial extent of flooding in the Ganges,
Brahmaputra, Meghna Basin are likely to alter because of climate change. This has significant
implications across all sectors (such as agriculture, housing, transport) and consequently on
economic development and poverty. Additionally, the likely consequences of sea level rise can
cause economic losses of an unprecedented magnitude in low lying Bangladesh. There are also
the human induced disasters like road accidents, drowning, ferry tragedies and building collapse.
Repeated Building collapse in Dhaka reflects our increasing urban vulnerability.

1.6.1 History of Sidr

Cyclone "SIDR" was one of the 10 strongest cyclones to hit Bangladesh between 1876 and 2007.
"SIDR" developed in the Bay of Bengal in early November2007. It further intensified into a
category 4 storm system (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) with peak sustained winds of up to 215
km/h (135 mp/h) (peaking at 260 km/hour). The cyclone made landfall in Bangladesh in the
evening of November 15, 2007. SIDR and its surge resulted in thousands of deaths and massive
destruction of coastal communities.

8|Page
Figure 1: Cyclone Sidr (Satellite image)

1.6.2 Formation and Path of Cyclone "SIDR"

9 November 2007- An air mass disturbance with weak low-level circulation begun developing in
the central Bay of Bengal, southeast of the Andaman islands, in close proximity to the Nicobar
Islands. Moderate upper-level wind shear inhibited its organized development, however strong
diffluence aloft aided in developing convection.

11 November 2007- The anomalous weather system was still somewhat south of the Andaman
Islands. A better defined cyclonic circulation developed when the vertical shear begun
decreasing. Based on that development, a "Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert" was issued for the
region. Later that day, when winds reached 65 km/h (40 mph), the India Meteorological
Department (IMD) designated the system as a Tropical Depression. Still later on November 11,
the system intensified as it moved slowly in a north-westward direction. The Joint Typhoon
Warning Center (JTWC) upgraded it to the designation of Tropical Cyclone.

12 November 2007 - As the system further intensified, the India Meteorological Department
(IMD) further upgraded the weather system to a " severe cyclonic storm" and named it "SIDR".

1.6.3 SIDR's Landfall

15 November 2007- By the morning of 15 November 2007, Cyclone "SIDR" had moved
considerably northward towards India's eastern border with Bangladesh. It had strengthened to
reach Category-4 tropical cyclone status, with peak sustained winds of 215 km/h (135 mp/h).
According to the JTWC best track, "SIDR" subsequently reached peak wind velocities of up to
260 km/h. Later that day, it appeared that the cyclone's brunt of force would be felt by the less
populated areas known as "Sundarbans", the mangrove forest that stretches along the western
third of Bangladesh's coast - a world heritage site that is home to the rare Royal Bengal Tigers.
However, this did not happen. Around 1700 UTC that day, with still sustained winds of 215 km/h
(135 mph), SIDR made direct landfall in the district of Bagerha, a highly-populated area of
Bangladesh. A catastrophic surge flooded the area and caused most of the deaths and the damage.
16 November 2007- By November 16, "SIDR" weakened considerably as it moved over land.

9|Page
Figure 2: Two NASA satellite photos show Cyclone "SIDR" as it approaches the coast of Bangladesh

1.6.4 The Cyclone Surge

Bangladesh is a country that is almost entirely situated on an an enormous delta that has been
formed by the confluence of Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers and their tributaries. This
extensive river system is constantly fed by waters of melting snow from the Himalayan
mountains. Thus, the entire country is mostrly flat and extremely vulnerable to flooding. Cyclone
"SIDR" generated maximum flooding. The cities of Patuakhali, Barguna and Jhalokati District
were hit hard by the storm surge that was over 5 meters (16 ft) In height. Fortunately, the cyclone
made landfall when the tide was low, so the surge was not as high as it could have been.

10 | P a g e
Also, cyclone surge flooding occurred earlier along the coastal areas of north Chennai in the
southern state of Tamil Nadu in India. The storm's surge flooded areas up to a height of 3 metres
(9.8 ft).

1.6.5 Death Toll and Damages

Most of the cyclones that have made landfall


in Bangladesh in the past have caused
thousands of deaths. "SIDR" was no
exception. According to official accounts
3,447 people lost their lives. However this is
believed to be inaccurate. The actual death
toll may never be known with certainty. It is
estimated that perhaps up to 10,000 people
actually lost their lives, with thousands more
injured, or missing. Thousands more were
displaced and became homeless.

The damage in Bangladesh was extensive.


About a quarter of the World Heritage Site
"Sunderbans" was damaged. The entire
cities of Patuakhali, Barguna and the
Jhalokati District were hit hard by the Figure 3: Cyclonic Storm Tracks

cyclone's surge of over 5 meters (16 ft). There was extensive flood damage at Barisal and at
Baniashanta, across from the port city, Mongla, as the cyclone's surge rolled in. In the town of
Mothbaria, one of the towns in the very center of the devastation, there was hardly anything left
standing, except of a few brick and concrete buildings. Houses and and schools were
demolished. The storm's surge washed away all roads in the region. About 500 fishing boats were
unnaccountable and over 3,000 fishermen were reported missing.

Much of the capital city of Dhaka was also severely affected due to the winds and the flooding
which affected the city's infrastucture. Electricity and water service were cut. The agricultural

11 | P a g e
industry of Bangladesh was devastated by the flooding which covered about1 million hectares of
farmable land. In brief, "SIDR" affected about 2 million families comprising about 9 million
people. More than 1.5 million homes were destroyed.

1.6.6 Warning Issued

There was advance knowledge that cyclone SIDR would make landfall on Bangladesh. The
warning was disseminated by emergency response authorities in Bangladesh, prompting massive
evacuations of the low-lying coastal areas. A total of 2 million people were evacuated to
emergency shelters and that probably contributed to the lower death toll. However, in spite of the
warning, thousands of people were stranded on tiny little islands dotting the coastline, with no
place to go because of the flatness of the land and its low elevation above sea level. There was
simply no higher ground or shelters on stilts to evacuate to. Overall, the early warning system,
preparedness and massive evacuations, resulted in a much lower death toll than that caused by
the 1991 cyclone. However, property damage was as severe or even worse that that caused in
1991.

1.6.7 Past Cyclones and Cyclone Surges in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to seasonal cyclones and floods. This is because a very large
part of Bangladesh is located on river deltas with low elevation above the sea. These areas
routinely suffer large-scale losses of life and property. Cyclones and depressions threaten the
country every year during pre-monsoon and post monsoon seasons. In the past, cyclones and
their surges originating in the Bay of Bengal, killed hundreds of thousands of people.

In 1960 a cyclone with winds up to 210 kmh made land fall in Bangladesh and killed about
10,000 people. Another cyclone in 1961, with winds of up to 161 kph killed 12,500 people. The
1963 cyclone that made landfall in the coastal Chittagong region, killed more than 11,500 people
and destroyed about 1 million homes.

The deadliest of all was the cyclone of Nov 12, 1970. It made landfall on Bangladesh with winds
of up to 222 kmph and a surge that was 10 meters high. It created havoc in the coastal districts of
Barisal, Patuakhali, Noakhali, and Bhola. It destroyed Chittagong and many coastal villages,

12 | P a g e
killing about half a million people. Still another cyclone in 1985 ripped through Urir Char and
devastated Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and the coastal islands with 154 kmph winds and a 15 foot
high surge that killed about 11,000 people. More recently, a cyclone in April 29, 1991 with 225
kmph winds swept over the coastal areas of Chittagong with a 25 foot surge and killed an
estimated 143,000 people. Another cyclone on Nov 29, 1997 with winds of up to 224 kmph and a
6.1 meter surge, made landfall in the Chittagong region and killed about 150,000 people.

1.6.8 History of Aila

On 25 May 2009, Cyclone Aila hit coastal areas of eastern India and Bangladesh, forcing
thousands to flee their homes. 200 people were reported killed, and a further 6 million people
were displaced. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. World Vision provided
relief assistance to those affected.

1.6.9 Meteorological history

Aila was the second tropical cyclone of the 2009 season. It formed as a tropical depression
950km south of Kolkata on 21st May. It intensified over the next few days while moving
northwards, becoming classified as a severe cyclonic storm early on 25th May. It made landfall a
few hours later while at its peak intensity.

Late on the 21st of May 2009, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported that a Tropical
Disturbance had persisted about 950 kilometres (590 mi) to the south of Kolkata, in India and
had developed within the Southwest Monsoon. The disturbance at this time had a broad and
poorly organized area of deep convection, which was located to the southeast of the low level
circulation center which had consolidated into a single circulation during the previous 12 hours.
Environmental analysis indicated that the system was in an area of favorable conditions to
develop with low vertical wind shear and warm sea surface temperaures. During 22 May 2009,
the disturbance developed further with a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert being issued early the
next day by the JTWC as the low level circulation center had become stronger and more defined.
Later that morning RSMC New Delhi designated the disturbance as Depression BOB 02.

13 | P a g e
During the day Depression BOB02 continued to slowly intensify until early the next day when it
was upgraded to a Deep Depression by RSMC New Delhi, and designated as Tropical Cyclone
02B by the JTWC. This came as satellite imagery had shown further organization of the
depression. Later that day, RSMC New Delhi reported that the deep depression had intensified
into a Cyclonic storm and had been named as Aila whilst located about 350 kilometres (220 mi)
to the southeast of Sagar Island. Aila became a severe cyclonic storm at 06UTC on May 25 and
made landfall at its peak intensity (60kt, 967hPa) between 08 and 09UTC.

Figure 4: Cyclone Aila (Satellite image)

In a disaster-related crisis condition women respond on the basis of what little they have or
are left with following the event. Women has to respond as both the household manager as
well as the disaster manager, guide through the reconstruction processes, and provide
psychological support for members of their surviving families.

Under the prevailing social and economic circumstances, Bangladeshi women are lagging far
behind than their male counterparts.

1.7 Limitations
In spite of pure dedication and hard effort, the study is not liberated from some limitations such
as:

14 | P a g e
1. Enough sampling data: Although the quality of the data has been maintained by using
latest technology, the quantity of data should be more to have a specific and precise
decision.

2. The disaster has been occurred in 2007 and 2009, people of that locality almost forgot the
real scenario of those disasters. However, they still hold the impact of the disaster and
that helped to understand the impact of the disaster.

15 | P a g e
CHAPTER 2: MATERIALS AND METHODS

2.1 Data Collection

2.1.1 Primary Data


As the primary objective of this study is to find out the impact of the cyclonic disaster on the
most vulnerable group i.e. women and children, data has been collected via direct interview
(CAPI- Computer Assisted Personal Interview) to the people of the locality especially women of
different age group.

The following is the number and distribution of the different age group:

Age Group Number

19-25 20

26-30 34

31-40 21

41 and above 11

Total 86

The reason behind to select such age group classification to identify the certain vulnerable group
at certain age level. For example, it has been seen that the early marriage consequences had been
faced by the age group 19-25 most. Health problem has been faced severely in the 41 and above
group. Collecting fresh water is a problem for age group 31-40 rather 19-25 found it not that
difficult because they are young enough to travel long for drinking water. A detail discussion on
such issues has been discussed in Chapter 3.

Moreover, while conducting the survey, few case studies of the inhabitants (mostly women) have
been collected and recorder in the study. This helps to understand the overall scenario of the

16 | P a g e
affected area or the suffering of the local people as a whole which may not be picturized by data
analysis.

2.1.2 Secondary data


The sources of secondary data are journals, books, reference manual, websites and papers. A list
has been given in the bibliography.

2.2 Methods
Data collection process is sensitive and has a great impact on the result. So it should be accurate,
error free and free from data entry and human error. To accommodate such thought, a modern
approach CAPI has been introduced with the help of Android mobile device. As such device is
available now a days in Bangladesh and the surveyors have their own device, it was cost
effective to prepare the questionnaire and put it in the mobile phone. A free and open source
mobile application named ODK (Open Data Kit) has been used for collecting the data from the
field.

2.2.1 Preparing the Questionnaire


The questionnaire has been prepared to understand the various vulnerabilities such as food and
nutrition, education, security, health care etc. To minimize human error and expedite the data
collection an open source tool ODK build has been used. The tool is very easy to use and the
questionnaire can be made only using drag and drop. It is time saving, efficient and cost
effective.

17 | P a g e
Figure 5: ODK build Survey Questionnaire tool

2.2.2 Mobile Application


An open source mobile application ODK has been used to collect the data. ODK ensured faster
data collection. As it runs on android and the mobile is available to the surveyor team, it saved
the paper and print cost as well as error during data entry from paper to computer. The
application is able to collect the location of the site so it authenticates that the data has been
collected from the field.

Figure 6: ODK Mobile Application

18 | P a g e
Figure 7: ODK Survey screen and data synchronization

2.2.3 Data Analysis tool


Once the data has been collected, they have been sent to the Google server (which is also free)
know as ODK aggregate. It is an open source as well and data can be analyzed, downloaded in
CSV format for further analysis. However, most of the data has been analyzed using Microsoft
Excel.

Figure 8: ODK Aggregate Control Panel

19 | P a g e
Figure 9: ODK Aggregate Analysis tool

The above figures show the exact location from where the data has been collected; besides, the
collected data can be plotted as Pie chart or Bar graph. However, the data has been downloaded
as CSV format and shifted to Excel for further analysis.

20 | P a g e
CHAPTER 3: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

3.1 Result

3.1.1 Analysis the data


A questionnaire has been prepared and a survey has been conducted among 150 women in the
disaster affected areas. However, among them 86 data has been considered appropriate and based
on them the following analysis has been made

3.1.1.1 vulnerable to cyclones

(a) Do you think Women and children are more vulnerable to cyclones for various reasons?

Answer Frequency Percent

Always 10 33.33

Often 15 50.00
Seldom 2 06.67
Never
3 10.00
Total
30 100.0

21 | P a g e
Analysis: 33.33% of the people said that its always women and children who cannot face the
cyclones and they dont have the strength to survive and tolerate the impacts after the disaster
happened. 15% people said often Women and children are more vulnerable to cyclones but many
old aged men also survive in numbers during disaster. In case of Seldom and Never we got
very few response of people which itself measures the impact is very negative towards women
and children specially for countries like Bangladesh.

3.1.1.2 Education
a. Did your children left school after disaster?

Answer Frequency Percent

Yes 47 55

No 39 45

Total 86 100

22 | P a g e
Analysis: 55% of the respondent said that their kids left the school after disaster. This is due
to lack of the school of that locality, or that parents needed children to take a job in order to
supplement family income or girls have been put in the house to help the mother in
household work.

b. Did the school in your area get damaged due to disaster?

Answer Frequency Percent

Fully 29 34

Partially 52 60

Not at all 5 6

Total 86 100

Analysis: According to 52% of the respondent the school of her locality has been
destroyed partially which has an impact of their childrens education. Very few (5%)
claimed that their school was not impacted by the cyclone, however those have been used

23 | P a g e
as cyclone center. In either way the education system has been hindered and the ultimate
sufferers are the children of that locality. Some claimed that this is the reason to increase
of dropout of children from school.

c. Is it functional now?

Answer Frequency Percent

Fully 36 44

Partially 42 52

No 3 4

Total 81 100

Analysis: The above graph shows that there is an almost 50/50 situation where the
schools has been rehabilitated partially and fully, although it is a good news that atleast
the school has been started its activities but still there is a question arised how fast they
have started their activities and was it enough to keep a child back to the school.
However the answer has been looked into the next question.

d. How long it took to be functional?

Answer Frequency Percent

One 28 35

24 | P a g e
Six 38 47

More than six 15 19

Total 81 100

Analysis: It has been observed that almost 50% of the schools have been recovered within a six
months time which is quite a big gap for the local students and a potential reson for student drop
out.

3.1.1.3 Shelter
a. How far the cyclone shelter was from your house?

Answer Frequency Percent

Within a mile 23 27

Within 5 miles 35 41

Within 10 miles 11 13

More than 10 mites 17 19

Total 86 100

25 | P a g e
Analysis: Cyclone center is the main shelter for the local people. Usually they shift temporaryly
to the center with their valuables, but if the distance is far sometimes they cannot carry their
variables (mainly cattles, electronic euipments like TV etc.) and deny to move to the cyclone
center. As the main person of the family denies the women and children has to stay back as they
are not permitted to move to the cyclone center alone and face casualties. Almost 30% (10 miles
or more than 10 miles) accepted the truth.

b. Was there any separate arrangement for women and children in cyclone center?

Answer Frequency Percent

Yes 20 24

No 9 10

There was but couldnt use 57 66

Total 86 100

26 | P a g e
Analysis: Our culture and values treats women and children specially although in practice we
dont see such reflection. The design pattern of the cyclone center must have a separate
allocation for the women considering their privacy. Howevr, during the study 66% women
claimed that there were separate places but they were not allowed to use it. This is another types
of vulnerabilty that women suffers even in the safe places like cyclone center. The reason were
different, some said it was not maitained properly, some said it was occupied by the male
counterparts, whatever the reason was, the sufferer were women.

c. During disaster does your privacy seems to be completely challenged?

Answer Frequency Percent

Always 16 19

Often 13 15

Seldom 46 53

Never 11 13

Total 86 100

27 | P a g e
Analysis: 53% respondent felt that their privacy has been challneged after the disaster which is
very common scenario in the rural area. Only the wealthy people has the ability to take the
necessary measures to protect privacy. Lack of proper sanitation, partially damaed infrasturcture,
lack of proper frash water etc made the women come outside the house and their privacy has
been compromised.

3.1.1.4 Assets
In Bangladesh especially in the rural area women do not possess any assets generally. However,
during the study it has been tried to find out the types of assets women have lost during the
disaster. It has been found that mostly they have lost livestock, jewelries etc. Some of them
claimed that to recover from the disaster aftermath they sold their jewelries to survive.

3.1.1.5 Livelihoods, Income and Expenditure


a. What was your/earning members job before disaster?

Answer Frequency Percent

Business 17 20

Service 21 24

Farming 35 41

Jobless 13 15

Total 86 100

28 | P a g e
Analysis: Most of the people of the locality were farmers and most cases their women
are helping in field or house hold work.

b. What is your/earning members job now (after disaster)?

Answer Frequency Percent

Same 12 16

New 9 12

New but not as good as


earlier 35 48

Jobless 17 23

Total 73 100

29 | P a g e
Analysis: The study gives a significant information that 48% women agreed tha their
livelihood has been changed in a negetive way after the disaster, some of them (women
or her husband or whom she is dependant) changed their profession, some (23%) became
jobless.

c. How fast did your receive the relief?

Answer Frequency Percent

Fast 8 9

Initially fast then slow 21 24

Slow 43 50

Didnt receive at all 14 16

Total 86 100

30 | P a g e
Analysis: After the disaster it is very important to get sufficient aid to recover from the situation.
Government and Non government institutions take the initiatives to distribute the relief in the
affected area. Timely relief distribution is very important and essential for the community people.
However about 23% feels that initially the releif effort was fast but later it became slow, more
that 50% believes the effort is really slow which is alarming and need to be addressed
immediately.

d. Did you receive sufficient government help to improve socio economic condition?

Answer Frequency Percent

Yes 11 13

Partial 19 22

Not enough 39 45

Not at all 17 20

Total 86 100

31 | P a g e
Analysis: Government plays an important role in post disaster rehabilitation. However in
Bangladesh due to certain burocracy 45% (majority) respondent believes the relief they receive
is not enough to change their livelihood. This is a very critical issue to be focused with utmost
importance. Government should ensure that the aid is properly received by the actualy receipent
rather than the local influential people who misuse the releif and illegally use them for their
purpose.

3.1.1.6 Migration
a. Were you here before the cyclone or migrated?

Answer Frequency Percent

Permanent Resident 77 90

Migrated 9 10

Visitor 0 0

Total 86 100

32 | P a g e
Analysis: Most of the respondent were permenent resident of that area but they have seen their
neighbors flee (migrated) to another area as they (neighbors) couldnt survive after the disaster.
Migration happened to the area and it left a bad impact and a sense of insecurity to the people
still living there. A strange feeling hovering around their mind may be next time they have to
face the same fate like their neighbors and left their vita bari .

3.1.1.7 Trafficking
Although during the study it has not been found any trafficking case in the study area, its still an
important issue to look upon. Trafficking may take place in the form of migration where the
victim may attract by the offer of the trafficker and fall into the trap.

3.1.1.8 Child Marriage


Lack of security and poverty is the main reason for the child marriage and it is a byproduct of
disaster as the social structure collapses. The parent feels insecure of their adolescent daughter
and do not hesitate to get her married. Some cases were found in the locality during the study.
The consequences of child marriage are early childbirth, health problem and relationship
instability.

33 | P a g e
3.1.1.9 Health Care
a. After the disaster have you suffered from any diseases?

Answer Frequency Percent

Yes 58 67

No 11 13

Seldom 17 20

Total 86 100

Analysis: 67% repspondent on that locality has suffered health problem, although the
scenario is expected, its alarming as well. Proper health facility, sufficient aid, medical
supply are main resons for such health issues. Most of them were suffering from minor
disases like diarrehea, skin diseases, fever etc. which can be mitigated by proper
awareness and supply of medical aids. Awareness among the local people specially to the
women is very important to alleviate such vulnerability.

34 | P a g e
b. Do you have enough healthcare facilities after disaster?

Answer Frequency Percent

Yes 26 30

Partial 53 62

No 7 8

Total 86 100

Analysis: More than 60% respondent believes that they have received partial helathcare after the
disater. This is due to lact of proper medical supply and aid. Moreover, the condition of the
hospitals and availability of doctors are also important factors for such sacrcity. Government and
other local agencies should look after these factors besides regular relief work. Releif is not only
providing food and shelter, proper healthcare and awareness on sexual and reproductive health is
also important.

35 | P a g e
3.1.1.10 Food and Nutrition
a. Did you take any measure to preserve food from disaster?

Answer Frequency Percent

Didnt get sufficient time 31 36

Prepared but couldnt


preserve 27 31

Preserved but taken by other


people 13 15

Successfully preserved and


used after the disaster 15 17

Total 86 100

Analysis: The main scarcity during or after disaster is proper food. Infant, women, children
all suffers from the insufficiency of food as in general cases they are unable to move out and
find their own. However, majority of the respondent claimed that they didnt get enough time
to preserve food. This depicts another picture that women are not properly informed of the
disaster alarm. Most village women donot listen radios or barely see TV, so they remain

36 | P a g e
unaware untill their male relatives let them know. 15% respondent claomed that their food
has been taken by another people, the reason they said is theft and force.

b. Did u take necessary measure to preserve drinking water?

Answer Frequency Percent

Didnt get sufficient time 28 33

Prepared but couldnt


preserve 38 44

Preserved but taken by other


people 11 13

Successfully preserved and


used after the disaster 9 10

Total 86 100

Analysis: Scarcity of fresh drinking water is another common scenario in disaster


affected area. Cyclonic disaster some times come with tidal wave which increases the
salainity of the locality and most tubewells cant provide pure drinking water, therefore,
women travels to far distance for water. They feel insecure and tired to get water from
distance places. Sometimes they try to cover the tubewell to protect it, but this is not an
effective method and thus 44% said they tried but failed to save their source of drinking
water.

37 | P a g e
c. Did you find difficulties to get safe drinking water after disaster?

Answer Frequency Percent

Yes 43 50

No 15 17

To some extent yes 19 22

I preserved my own sources


even after disaster 9 10

Total 86 100

Analysis: According to the major respondent (50%), collecitng water from another source in
distance is obviously a problem. However 17% also believes that its not a problem for them. The
interesting part of this study is mainly women age group from 19-30 dont find any problem even
the source is in distance. They are happy as they are getting pure water. Women above 30 have
problem because of their physical structure and movement restriction.

3.1.1.11 Violence
a. Did you feel insecure in cyclone shelter?

Answer Frequency Percent

38 | P a g e
Yes 21 24

No 6 7

Sometime 19 22

Sometime specially at night 40 47

Total 86 100

Analysis: Cyclone centers are the temporary but vital centers for the local community
people. Security in cyclone centers are very important because after disaster people already
pass a very intense and insecure time and people seek security where they are taking shelter.
However 47% respondent replied they feel insecure even in cyclone center specially at night.
This is because of structural problem of the cyclone center, dusturbance of local goons, theft,
robbery etc.

39 | P a g e
b. Was there any incident in cyclone center?

Answer Frequency Percent

Threatened 36 42

Incident happened 43 50

No incident 7 8

Total 86 100

Analysis: It is very alarming that 50% respondent experienced any sort of incidents such as theft,
robbery etc. The reason that came out from the study is the total desruption in socio economic
condition and not enough initiatives to restore it.

40 | P a g e
3.2 Discussion

3.2.1 Impacts of Cyclone Sidr


Cyclone Sidr inflicted heavy damage on property and infrastructure in up to 30 districts in
Bangladesh on 15 November 2007. The destruction affected approximately 8.9 million people,
resulting in large-scale humanitarian needs in the country. Hazardous process of all types can
have primary, secondary, and tertiary effects.

Primary Effects occur as a result of the process itself. For example water damage due to a tidal
surge, and collapse of houses due to a cyclone, earthquake, landslide, hurricane, or tornado.

Secondary Effects occur only because a primary effect has caused them. For example, damaged
infrastructures and other facilities due to cyclone and tidal surge, fires ignited by earthquakes or
volcanic eruptions; disruption of electrical power and water services as a result of an earthquake
or flood, and flooding caused by a landslide moving into a lake or river.

Tertiary Effects are long-term effects that are set off as a result of a primary event. These include
things like loss of houses caused by a cyclone, permanent changes in the occupation etc.

3.2.1.1 Primary Impacts


a. Injury and death of people
b. Devastation of Houses
c. Devastation of Community Infrastructures
d. Devastation of Trees
e. Loss of Fishing materials and other materials
f. Loss of Livestock
g. Crop Failure

41 | P a g e
3.2.1.2 Secondary Impacts
a. Increased Salinity of Land and low fertility
b. Contamination of Water
c. Sources and damaged sanitation
d. Impact on Food Security
e. Increased price of hired labor

3.2.1.3 Tertiary Impacts


a. Health Condition and Nutritional Status
b. Impact on Livelihood Strategies
c. Cultural Identity in Crisis
d. Indebtedness
e. Less Production
f. Less amount of land under cultivation
g. Loss of Occupation and Unemployment
h. Migration
i. Stigma of people and Class Mobility

3.2.2 Impacts on Livelihood Strategies

A livelihood comprises of the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources)
and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with
and recover form stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both
now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resources base.

The livelihood assets can be visually expressed as an asset pentagon showing the different
types of assets and important interrelationships between them. The cyclone Sidr had a direct
impact upon Rakhains assets and livelihood options that are open to them. Cyclone Sidr had
directly affected natural, physical, and financial assets of the Rakhains as following:

42 | P a g e
Mostly Rakahins are agriculturalist and fishermen. Cyclone Sidr directly affected both. Firstly
due to the wind and water surge many fishing boats were destroyed and fishing nets were lost.
When cyclone Sidr attacked saline water and sand with the surge came and damaged the
agricultural fields. And they did not get the only crop of the year (Damage of natural assets).
Financial assets were damaged because of damage of houses, because they lost crop and had to
buy foods to feed themselves (despite relief), crop failure resulted in loss of investments made
in the production process. Also physical assets were directly affected by the cyclone as loss of
livestock, equipment such as: tractor, other infrastructures as damaged embankments and roads.

3.2.3 Capital Impact of the Sidr

Human Natural
Injury Contamination of water resources
Weak physical state Damage to trees
Mental stress Social Loss of soil fertility due to water surge
Everyone is affected so none is there to help Financial
Physical Damage of houses, and other materials
Loss of fishing boats, nets and other materials Had to spend money on treatment
Damaged crop land due sand which comes To payback loan
with storm water To buy foods
Loss of standing crop Loss of investment in agriculture, fishing, and
Damage of agricultural tools and livestock other livelihood strategies.

But this damage are not separate they are interrelated and making the Rakhains more vulnerable
in terms of their livelihoods day by day: for example at first due to the Sidr they first lost their
crop and fertility of land (natural assets), also physical equipments for production, and were in
financial crisis due to severe loss of properties. This was the immediate situation but after more
than one year this situation is becoming worse instead of improving.

43 | P a g e
Firstly due to saline water next crop was not good. But the rate of fertilizers and other important
materials for production were costly but the rate of rice got down so their financial assets were
damaged again. After Cyclone Sidr human labor for cultivation becomes expensive because
due to relief the poor people started to raise their daily working rate but the Rakhain farmers
needed human labor for cultivation. Now they are in short of both financial and human capital
and there was damaged natural capital already. Their social capital was also damaged because
of the cyclone Sidr because everyone was affected by the cyclone. They can get loan from
various NGOs which started micro credit program after the cyclone. But they dont want to get
loan because due to the higher working rate of the laborer and fertilizers and lack of good seeds
(due to the cyclone) they feel its risky to cultivate, they might not get their investment back so
they are reluctant not to cultivate lands.

3.2.4 Damage of disasters and the impacts on human being


Disasters adversely affect all aspects of childrens daily life and life chances covered by the
CRC. Childrens rights to survival, to protection, to clean water, sanitation, food, health and
education remain in serious threat due to disasters. In the course of every disaster people have to
suffer as they frequently lose the sustainability of their livelihoods, their everyday needs like
food stock, seeds, tools, livestock, shelter and employment. Increase of disasters in frequency
and intensity further undermines peoples resilience and increases poverty and this situation
diminishes particularly life chances of children as a dependent and vulnerable group. Under these
circumstances, infants, young children, and pregnant and lactating women (PLW) are vulnerable
to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, especially since their nutritional requirements are
relatively high, but they are less able to negotiate their fair share of food within the household.
Where the nutritional status of children is already poor, it is exacerbated in a disaster situation.
Analysis of the damage and loss assessment of different disasters explains childrens more
vulnerable situation due to every disaster.

44 | P a g e
3.2.5 Damage by floods: aftermath of cyclonic disaster
During the rainy season every year an average of 15% of the total geographical area is inundated
by floods. Floods in 1988, 1998 and 2004 caused huge damage of resources amounting 10.6
billion dollars which affected almost every aspect of chances and opportunities for children.
Only in 2007 flood a total of 46 districts were affected to varying degrees. The flood inundated
about 32000 Sq Km including the char areas of 6000 sq km affecting almost 16 million people in
around 3 million households. Thousands of people also suffered from flood related health
hazards. 85,000 houses were completely damaged, while almost one million suffered partial
damages. 649 persons were reported to have perished either as a direct impact of the flood or
through flood related causes including bridge collapse or boat capsizing. A number of children
drowned as a result of swimming in flood areas. A number, in addition to this, perished as a
result of diseases caused by contaminated water and poor sanitation.

3.2.6 Damage by Cyclone Aila

The frequency of cyclones over the years has increased significantly. Major cyclones in 1970,
1991 and 1997 caused over 500,000 deaths. The 2007 cyclone Sidr, which hit Bangladeshs
offshore islands, affected 2,064,026 households and 8,923,259 people. The Tropical Cyclone
AILA hit Bangladesh on May 25, 2009 which affected more than 3 million people in Khulna,
Barisal and Chittagong divisions. Due to the Government preparedness strategies more than
500,000 people could be evacuated to the shelters. This Cyclone affected 14 districts, damaged
or destroyed more than 520,886 houses and 400,689 acres of agricultural crops in the affected
areas. Significant damage of infrastructure and livestock loss was recorded.

45 | P a g e
3.2.7 Impacts on Women
Climate change is often perceived as a multi-dimensional environmental problem with a strong
political and development component. The impacts of global climate change are not only
physical and economic (for instance, in the form of natural disasters), but also social and cultural,
threatening to jeopardize environmentally based livelihoods in many areas of the world. As
predicted by the IPCC, ... climate change impacts will be differently distributed among
different regions, generations, age classes, income group, occupations and genders (IPCC,
2001). The IPCC also notes: ... the impacts of climate change will fall disproportionately upon
developing countries and the poor persons within all countries, and thereby exacerbate
inequities in health status and access to adequate food, clean water, and other resources.
People living in poverty are more vulnerable to environmental changes.

Figure 10: Perceived vulnerability of women in coastal island

46 | P a g e
3.2.7.1 Womens Context of Vulnerability in Reference to Physical and Social Setting

The gender-poverty links show that 70 percent of the poor in the world are women and their
vulnerability is accentuated by race, ethnicity, and age (Enarson and Morrow, 1998). When
natural disasters and environmental change occur, women and men are affected differently
because of traditional, socially-based roles and responsibilities.

The contexts of vulnerability to climate change are somewhat different for women, since they
have lesser financial means and decision-making power than their male counterparts to respond
to climate-driven stresses. Moreover, as being the household manager women have to bear the
burden of meeting the needs of the family, even when fighting against adversities. Most climate
change issues, policies and programs are not gender neutral. In light of this, several areas deserve
attention, specifically: gender specific resource-use patterns; gender specific effects of climate
change; gender related patterns of vulnerability; womens capacity to cope with climate change;
gender and decision making on climate change; and gender aspects of mitigation and adaptation.

3.2.7.2 Women are affected differently and more severely

The effects of climate change manifested in the increase of extreme weather conditions such as hot
summers, droughts, storms or floods, impact women more severely than men, both in developing and
in developed countries. For example, the 20,000 people who died in France during the extreme
heat wave in Europe in 2003 included significantly more elderly women than men. In natural
disasters that have occurred in recent years, both in developing and in developed countries, it is
primarily the poor who have suffered and all over the world, the majority of the poor are
women, who at all levels earn less than men. In developing countries, women living in poverty
bear a disproportionate burden of consequences of climate change. Because of womens
marginalized status and dependence on local natural resources, their domestic burdens are
increased, including additional work to fetch water, or to collect fuel and fodder.

In some areas, climate change generates resource shortages and unreliable job markets, which
lead to increased male-out migration and more women left behind with additional agricultural

47 | P a g e
and households duties. Poor womens lack of access to and control over natural resources,
technologies and credit mean that they have fewer resources to cope with seasonal and episodic
weather and natural disasters.

Women are the ones who are supposed to ensure well being of the family, even if it is at the cost
of their self well being. The woman (perhaps including the girl child) receives the least amount
of food in a food impoverished household, even though she has to lactate an infant and nurture
another child in her womb. In a common household in rural Bangladesh she has to maintain
hygiene, ensure water supply, cook for the family, take the burden of post processing of all
agricultural produce, raise a few poultry, maintain a courtyard garden to ensure supply of
nutritious food (vegetables) all happening simultaneously. Yet, when a hazard strikes she has to
safeguard all the belongings and any hint of an asset, send everybody to safer refuge, and stay
back to ensure that the household is not ransacked while in absence. In this process, she accepts
whatever the consequence of the imminent hazardous event. In a quickly on-setting hazard event,
such an apparent passive response may lead to death and such a risk is deliberately undertaken
by women.

3.2.7.3 Impact on womens economic livelihoods

Floods and cyclones damage livestock (i.e. cows, goats, buffaloes), poultry (i.e. chickens, ducks),
fisheries, trees, crops (i.e. rice, wheat, nuts, chilies, lentils), seeds and animal fodder. Productive
tools such as ploughs and nets are also washed or blown away. Increased salinity after a cyclone
and the difficulty in plowing wet soil after flooding decreases soil productivity. Sand deposition
as a result of flood and river erosion affects production of crops such as nuts. During and after
weather disasters, the lack of fodder for livestock and poultry results in reduced milk and meat
production.

The impacts of floods and cyclones on the livelihoods of women specifically include:

3.2.7.3.1 Housing and homestead:

The destruction of houses by floods and cyclones is a common impact in disaster prone areas.

48 | P a g e
Figure 11: Life during disaster

3.2.7.3.2 Crop production loss

Bangladeshi women, who control homestead-based livelihoods, lose income when crops are
blown or washed away.

3.2.7.4 Migration

There is often a fear that whole families will migrate post-event but more generally one or
two people from a household leave in search of work. Following cyclone Aila large-scale
migration of male heads of households was reported (Delaney and Shrader 2000) with men
hoping to find employment and send remittances back to their family. There is little
information about the impact of migration on men and women post disaster, and even less
on children and adolescents. It has been suggested that women who are left behind when

49 | P a g e
men migrate may suffer a double impact from male migration. They may be left waiting for
money that may never arrive, as the general literature around migration suggests some men
may never send money or may start a new life and new family elsewhere. This may be
compounded by the fact the household may have sold what little they had to finance the
migration, leaving the woman without any means of survival. On the other hand, in localities
long adapted to male out-migration, women and girls may find greater opportunities as they
engage in non-traditional activities due to the absence of males.

Case Study

Amina is 30 years old. She has five members in her family. Before Aila her husband was only the
earning member of her family. She sayswe lost my fishing boat to the hungry tides of Aila. It
was the only source of income for me and without the boat I cant feed my family of five.
Before Aila he never go to work outside her house. But now he is compelled to work in
embankment repairing. She says that there is a group of women workers who togetherly work in
the embankment but their wage is not equal to the men. The wage that she and her husband earn
by daily labour is not sufficient to manage their foods, cloths and treatment. They get 20kgs of
rice per month by government. She says both I and my husband work hard as day labor but we
cannot manage enough foods and vegetables to our need let alone cloths and medicine to face
cold waves and diseases. She think that her next generation has to be day labour as they cannot
be educated.

3.2.7.5 Trafficking

Human trafficking due to migration or movement or by the traffickers are common scene in the
disaster area as the situation is pretty hazardous and most cases law and order were not restored
properly to prevent such occurrences. However, mostly women and children are the sufferers of
trafficking. Poverty and unemployment is the main reason of human trafficking.

50 | P a g e
3.2.7.6 Employment

After the cyclonic disaster women also involve in mens work and sometime is puts them in
more stress and workload besides her household work.

Case Study

Sufia is 25. She and her husband, Alim (30) work as day labour side by side fattening crabs. She
said Before Aila my husband was involved in crab fattening, but now I am involved more too. I
feed the crabs, catch them and then sell them in the market. We used to struggle. My husband
worked away from home tending other peoples crabs. That put me extra load and I feel so
exhausted sometime. However, climate is not favour to their luck but they are always trying to
cope with that.

3.2.7.7 Violence

Violence against women during post disaster has become a common phenomenon. It has been
reported even in the cyclone shelter women has been experienced threat and subjected to abuse.

Case Study

Lutfun nahar, 34, has taken shelter during Aila with her husband and two kids. She has been
robbed by the other people and lost her belongings although she could save a little from the
cyclonic disaster. However, she was threatened not to disclose this matter to the police or the
authority.

Anjum ara , a young house wife who used to work as day labor and some house servent in the
neighbouring village. If he do not go to work in any day, scolded by her husband and sometime
beaten. In the workplace or roads, she also teased by local touts. She says women become the
worst victim of the natural disasters. Many women have been raped , allured to be trafficked or

51 | P a g e
get engaged in prostitution for food, safe drinking water or shelter.

3.2.7.8 Health care

The condition of post disastrous situation on healthcare is very poor specially for women. The
loss of infrastructure affects every perspective of health care, from general to pre or post natal
care.

Case Study

Jamila is 29. She is a fisherman but when Cyclone Aila hit his village his pond was destroyed
and all his fish escaped. She has been supported in rebuilding his pond replenishing her stocks
with fish better adapted to the highly salinated water by Oxfam. But she cannot earn enough
money to fulfill his basic needs foods, cloths, medicine etc. She also face skin diseases. Even her
head skin is not out of deseases.

Afroza 55,a widow and mother of child who looked undernourished and suffering from
jaundice. She has lost her husband during Aila. She says hunger can be sustained but thirst must
be quenched at any cost to save life. Her house is half kilometer away from the tubewell. So he
cannot bear a single jar of water. She is living in a filthy and small slum. She also wear filthy
cloths. In the last winter she face biting cold and suffer from diarrohoea and she says, she was
going to die for these disease.

3.2.7.9 Drinking water

Scarcity of drinking water is common in the affected area. At villages women are mainly
responsible to collect water and thus they have to travel sometime long to collect water after the
disaster happens and the source of drinking water becomes unavailable.

52 | P a g e
Case Study

Rabeca and Mariam are cousins and unmarried. They says We never had to come outside our
home. We feel shy. Now we go to our neighboring village to work as day labor in the field and
bring vegetables and money. If we dont have anything to take back home, mother will scold, our
fathers will be angry. They have not enough tube wells to collect water for them and for their
cattle. As their parents are old they have to manage foods, cloths, drinking water etc. They says
after Aila when there were no tube wells in the village, they had to collect a jar of water by going
6 or 8 miles away and sometime buy by 10 or 12 taka. Now they collect water from tube wells by
spending time and energy to bear it. They also face water borne diseases such as diarrhea,
jaundice as they are surrounded by saline and polluted water. They use floated sanitary latrine
that also remain crowdy.

Anowara is 38 years old. Anowaras neighbours all found space on the embankment. She says I
could be the poorest in my village, but at the present, even the affluent ones are also living on
this road. The storm came in the afternoon . First I rushed to a higher ground with others and
spent the night all wet and cold. Next morning, I moved to the embankment and made this
shack.I am on my own. I work as a wage labourer to survive. But there has been no work for a
week now. People from outside came and gave me five kgs of rice few days back. Every day we
hope to receive more. Farzana is her present neighbors daughter. The only operating tube well
nearest to us is serving 100 families. The water is salty. We have water all around us but it is not
drinkable.

53 | P a g e
3.2.8 Damages of disaster and the impact on Children

3.2.8.1 Education
The main impact on childs life during the cyclonic disaster might me the destruction of schools
and education centers. In most cases either they suffer the school is broken or it became the
shelter for the disaster affected people. In either way the sufferer is the pupil of those schools. It
has a long impact of the students because their practice of going to school becomes interrupted
and later its found the dropout rate becomes high.

Figure 12: Temporary School

Case Study

Meherunnesa, a women who has 7 members in her family. They live in slum on the embankment
She says,My small piece of agricultural land is under sludge and saline water. It is the only
source of livelihood for my family. The land here will become infertile for cultivation. It will
take more than two years to recover. Now she goes to fish with her husband to the river and
earn money by selling it in the market. Their earning money is not sufficient to run their
household. They usually eat rice and sometime they starve. They cannot grow anything so they
collect vegetables from the neighboring village people who came to sell vegetables in their
village. She collect water from the tube well that provide water for more than hundred people.
Now she often face different diseases such as diarrohoea, jaundice and skin diseases. Her three

54 | P a g e
Childs also help them in fishing instead of going to Schools because there is no school in the
village. They feel fishing is more beneficial than spending time to take education.

3.2.8.2 Physical
Children are already vulnerable due to their physical condition and inability to act accordingly.
Thus they are always vulnerable during or after the disaster. Mostly the children got injured
sometimes faces death during the disaster because they cannot act like a grown up person or seek
shelter, they are mostly dependent on their parents. Drowning, snake bites etc are common
physical threats that children suffers during the disaster.

Figure 13: Children needs other's help to survive

3.2.8.3 Psychological impact


The psychological impact on the children may be the most long term and risky vulnerability
caused by the disaster. The child who suffers injury from the disaster often suffers post traumatic
stress disorder. The children has both direct and indirect psychological affects due to disaster,
direct indicates PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) sometimes which left a long term impact
and indirect due to loss of parents, classmates or even the school building in short the known
environment he/she has grown up.

55 | P a g e
3.2.8.4 Household impact (impact on the family due to the harm on children)
The household and its members are also affected if their children are affected by the disaster. The
family who lost their kids or who has an injured kid suffers same as the kid. This is obviously an
important issue to be addressed and thought of.

3.2.8.5 Migration
As parent migrates from one place to another, the children migrates to from his/her know
environment to a new environment, in most case this migration has a bad impact on their mind
and most of them cannot cope up with the changes. As a result they suffer from absenteeism,
dejection, depression etc.

3.2.8.6 Trafficking
Human trafficking due to migration or movement or by the traffickers are common scene in the
disaster area as the situation is pretty hazardous and most cases law and order were not restored
properly to prevent such occurrences. However, mostly women and children are the sufferers of
trafficking. Poverty and unemployment is the main reason of human trafficking.

3.2.8.7 Marriage
Early marriage is another social problem that becomes more visible after any disaster happens in
a community. The reason is the socio economic condition and the security; the main affected
groups are adolescent girls (13-17). Parents often think that marriage is the only solution to keep
their daughter secure from any mishaps and her husband will protect her in such insecure
scenario arises after the disaster. However, which is not correct at all. Thus the ratio of early
marriage is observed higher especially after any disaster happens to a society.

3.2.8.8 Health care

Case Study

Acchia Begum, 55, said, We have concrete building of my own but that is till now under water. I
never do work outside the home. We were the King of my village. My husband cultivated

56 | P a g e
Chingri fish and earn minimum 30 thousand per month. But now I also go to fish with my
husband but we cannot manage needed foods and cloths. We are now living in small thatched
house. We cannot now manage warm cloth but before Aila and Sidr we gave cloths to the poor
people. In the last cold wave period we did not know how we will spend the whole winter. Our
homesteads are still under water. Our makeshift camps, where we are living in, were not
protected from cold wind. We also face different cold diseases such as fever, cough, dysentery,
diarrohoea, pneumonia etc. We cannot make our children educated.

3.2.9 Some other aspects of vulnerabilities

3.2.9.1 Vulnerability due to location and pattern of settlement

Is has been seen that location and pattern of settlement are an important factors determining
peoples vulnerability to a tropical cyclone on the Bangladesh coast. This view of the coastal
people is supported by the experience of Edris Alam, who lived through the 29 April 1991
cyclone. Although there were no casualties among his immediate neighbours, the following
morning he saw corpses by the roadside, transported from the furthest coastal areas by sea surge.
On 30 April 1991, he travelled to the coastal zone to witness the devastation that the cyclone had
produced on the previous night. There, he observed a higher density of corpses than in his
neighbourhood, mostly females and children.

Coastal and island people frequently differentiated vulnerability to previous cyclones by form of
settlement, such as Puran Bari (old settlement), Natun Bari (new settlement), Baro Bari (large
settlement) and Choto Bari (single settlement). Most of the past devastation occurred in single
and new settlements. Manik, a farmer from Kutubdia Island, suggested that the people who lived
in scattered settlements near to the coast and in linear settlements along the coastal embankment
were those who died in the April 1991 cyclone. This type of settlement is more susceptible to
cyclonic sea surge. Unfortunately, this type of settlement is currently spreading due to family
fragmentation and to what the older population regards as individualism in this area.

57 | P a g e
Houses on the inner part of the island and coastal areas are compact in nature, consisting on
average of six or seven houses called Baris with dense tropical forest surroundings. Several
closely located Baris make up a Samaj. This type of settlement is less susceptible to severe
cyclonic wind and the later sea surge. Houses closer to the coast are scattered, newly formed, and
of various types. The soil of the new settlement was not strong enough and, in most cases, the
land was without trees or had very small trees. During previous cyclones, this settlement faced
more severe wind speeds and the first onslaught of sea surge caused devastation within a few
minutes. The linear settlements along the coastal and island embankment consist of straw,
bamboo houses. Apart from wind speed and sea surge, they are also vulnerable due to
fragmentation of the embankment in major cyclone periods.

3.2.9.2 Vulnerability due to inappropriate land management systems

The coastal and island denizens (occupants) living along the embankment in Chakoria, Kutubdia
and Sandwip are landless and have lost their homes three times on average due to coastal
erosion. As the Government of Bangladesh built and is responsible for maintaining the coastal
embankment, the landless people construct settlements easily along this public embankment
space. The number of landless was more in Urir Char and they have shifted their homes five or
six times during their lifetime. Local people indicated that, during the early 1980s, approximately
740 households left Sandwip to settle in Urir Char. All of them were landless in Sandwip and
formed isolated settlements in Urir Char. The present isolated settlements on this small island
have therefore produced another aspect of vulnerability to cyclone disasters through the
governments land management system. With the enactment of the 1984 Land Reform
Ordinance, the Office of the Deputy Commissioner (the head of district-level administration)
finally approved all allocation and settlement matters, following a series of procedural steps.

58 | P a g e
Figure 14: People are moving toward the cyclone shelter

After the act came into force, the Government of Bangladesh allowed the landless people6 two
acres of land each, for agricultural and settlement purposes. These poor people individually made
homes in the middle of an allocated plot. The whole island thus formed as a scattered settlement.
However, some poor settlers are still not able to occupy their land beyond their house. A
significant number of people reported that they remain landless in the Char area. They also
alleged that rich and politically influential persons from Sandwip Island own the majority of land
in the Char area due to their close relations with land registration officials. They lease their
vulnerable lands to landless Char denizens in exchange for cash, or they take a share of the
agricultural production of these lands.

3.2.9.3 Vulnerability due to means of livelihood and a lack of infrastructure

The main occupations of the coastal and island communities are agriculture and fishing in the
Bay of Bengal. During the peak cyclonic period (AprilMay and OctoberNovember), farmers
are used to working in their fields and fisherman in the Bay of Bengal. The questionnaire surveys
and discussions indicate that every year, the coastal and island people experience several tropical
cyclones. It is tough for them to leave their means of livelihood and belongings when they hear
59 | P a g e
of or comprehend the formation of a cyclone hazard in the Bay of Bengal. In this regard, a
comment by Kalam, a 42-year-old farmer near the coast of Sandwip Island, is of interest:

I used to see every year cyclones in this area but I do not know which cyclone would be
dangerous. I always work in my paddy field. I sometimes hired day laborer to work in my field
and I have to pay for them. I need their services in exchange. Therefore, I cannot leave
working just on hearing a warning signal. I am responsible for earning livelihoods of my wife,
four children and my aged parents. I rear two cows for plough my crops. I have to look to see
whether my cows are enough fed, for better services tomorrow. There is no cyclone shelter
nearby to my houses for us or a raised place for shelter of my domestic animals. I rather rely
on Allahs wish, whatever I have got in my fate, I believe that will happen in my life.

Figure 15: The lack of a proper transport infrastructure is another important factor in peoples vulnerability
to cyclone disasters

60 | P a g e
The lack of a proper transport infrastructure is another important factor in peoples vulnerability
to cyclone disasters. Cyclone hazard is associated with severe wind and rain. Yet, most of the
roads in the near coastal areas are made of earth. Most earth-made boundaries of the crop field
are used to travel to the main road, which is also sometimes built of mud. During the rainy
season or cyclonic period, these passageways are damaged or destroyed. Insufficient cyclone
shelters in the most hazard-prone areas means that a decision to move to distant and hard-to-
reach cyclone shelters becomes a matter of making ones livelihood vulnerable during the
extended period of disruption.

3.2.10 Women and children vulnerability in western world


Women and children are always vulnerable to the disaster even in western countries like USA. A
study shows women also face a high risk of gender-based violence (physical, mental and
emotional violence perpetrated due to the gender of the victim) at the time of the disaster and
during the immediate response and years that follow. As the following figure shows, the rate of
gender-based violence (including sexual assault and domestic violence) in Mississippi rose from
4.6 per 100,000 per day when Hurricane Katrina hit the state, to 16.3 per 100,000 per day a year
later while many women remained displaced from their homes and were living in temporary
shelters and trailers. The rate declined again in subsequent years. As a result of all of these
different situations and conditions, during or soon after most disasters, more women are
endangered than men.

Figure 16: Gender based violence after Katrina

61 | P a g e
3.2.11 Women and children vulnerability in Asia
Cyclone Nargis, the worst natural disaster in Myanmars recent history, struck the unsuspecting
population of the Ayeyarwady Delta and Yangon regions on May 2nd, 2008, causing damage of
unprecedented magnitude. In the wake of its destruction thousands of lives were lost, and
millions were displaced, including many pregnant women.

The initial assessment reported that the main safety/security problems faced by women and girls
in their communities were rape (31.4%), emotional abuse (21.8%), violence at home (20.4%),
travelling alone for long distances (15.4%), physical assault (13.1%), being trafficked for work
(10.3%), being trafficked for sex work (8.1%), sexual exploitation (7.9%), verbal abuse (6.7%)
and being forced into early marriage (5.9%). Which is obviously is alarming and depicts the real
picture of how vulnerable women and children are.

62 | P a g e
Chapter 4: Summary

4.1 Local responses: pre cyclone


When coastal and island people in these areas were asked what they did when they realised a
cyclone was imminent, they often replied that, if the danger signal number is more than six and
enough indigenous signs are present, they generally increase religious activities to satisfy
Allah/Ishwar (God). They view extreme environmental events as the wraths of nature or as
Allahs gazab, the wrath of God that befalls persons who or communities that have sinned.
Different religious communities worship in different ways in order to resist the cyclone. The
Hindu community offers sugar, coconut and banana to the seawater. Muslims practise religious
obedience in mosques during prayer times. In madrassas7 (religious Muslim schools), religious
teachers compel students to stay longer to pray loudly for Allah to resist the cyclone. All of these
religious activities are performed in the firm belief that only Allah can prevent the cyclone.

As well as praying to Allah, a majority of respondents reported that, prior to a cyclone, they take
several steps to reduce their losses and to save their belongings. Their preparation depends on the
presence of local signs (indigenous early warning) and the cyclone signal hoisted by the BMD.
Some coastal and island people hide their food, valuables and money in the earth. Other
respondents were found to be apathetic about preparation. Some coastal people send their
valuable materials to their relatives in safer areas. Some habitants of the near coastal area also
sought shelter in their relatives homes located in the inner areas.

Social leaders, known as matbor, try to visit the residents of the area to observe whether
everyone is engaging in the necessary preparation for the approaching hazard. Households
implement several measures to protect houses if they are not made of brick. They tie their houses
to surrounding big trees, if available, using strong rope. They also insert new poles around the
house, sinking them into deep holes. Thekassetting new poles diagonally around the houseis
another common technique used to save houses. Before a cyclone, farmers are known to consider
the safety of domestic animals as seriously as that of family members. If the warning signal
number hoisted is nine or more, they set domestic animals free from sheds to allow them to

63 | P a g e
survive the surge water. They also try to send domestic animals to highland areas. The
questionnaire surveys and participant observations revealed that farmers also try to collect
agricultural crops from the field before an approaching cyclone hazard.

4.2 Local peoples survival strategies during the cyclonic surge


Just prior to the arrival of a cyclone surge, coastal and island occupants are often still trying to
reach the cyclone shelters, higher places and other strong buildings. Those coastal people not
able to reach cyclone shelters frequently take refuge on rooftops during the water surge. They
have been observed helping each other irrespective of social class. Local young community
members play an important role in saving the lives of women, children and older people during
the water surge. Young men in these communities are known to fall victim due to their attempts
to save the lives of family members. However, there is evidence that, overall, more women die in
cyclone and flash-flood events than men. This is due to many of the reasons noted earliermore
in-depth work on the gender dynamics of these emergencies continues. During the 1991 cyclone
surge, many people saved their lives by staying on the roofs of their thatched homes. Typically,
they use harrow to climb on to the roofs of their homes and blankets to protect themselves from
cyclone-induced hailstorms during sea surge periods. The big branches of trees become life-
saving shelters for many people and domestic animals. Remaining on floating logs during surge
periods saves the lives of some people. Moreover, the co-existence of humans, animals and wild
species, such as snakes, has been observed in cyclone shelters, houses, and large trees during
cyclone surges.

4.3 Peoples coping strategies post cyclone


After the recession of cyclone surge water, different occupational groups respond in different
ways to the devastating situation. The survivors first go out in search of their family members.
Then, they focus on seeking out a means of survival and livelihood. The fishermen search for
their nets and boats and the farmers for their cattle. Young girls and children collect floating food
and pick up fruit from in and around their houses. It can take four or five days for the relief
programme to reach the devastated areas. This is despite the best efforts of well-meaning

64 | P a g e
emergency programmes operating in difficult geographical locations in cyclone-affected areas of
Bangladesh. Unaffected local people, however, offer assistance to affected people. In addition,
during this post-cyclone period, people take whatever food is available to them, such as wetted
rice, bread, sweet potato, pumpkin, green banana, coconut and mango. Some of these fruits are
transported from crop fields by surge water. Green coconut seemed to be the only source of
drinking water available for several days immediately after the cyclone event. Adolescent girls
tend to be given the important role of collecting water from long distances. In rural villages of
Bangladesh, where womens activities are confined to within the household, exceptions are made
during a disaster period to permit women to engage more openly in daily living activities.

4.4 Womens current coping strategies and adaptation


Long term monitoring and research is needed to have a full understanding of whether the current
coping strategies of poor households, and particularly of women, are significantly or sufficiently
contributing to adaptation to climate change. The factors responsible for success or failure of
these coping strategies may be relevant for future planning.

Figure 17: Violation of security, dignity and privacy

65 | P a g e
Figure 18: But life goes on..

4.5 Avoidance or Prevention Strategies


People living in the disaster-prone areas of Bangladesh employ an array of measures to safeguard
their lives and property against disasters. The majority of the people do have a clear
understanding about the effectiveness of each of the preparedness measures, as well as their
limitations. Often these measures do not help them because of the magnitude of disasters.

4.5.1 Predicting and preparing for disasters


In the cyclone prone areas, vulnerable people have used their own science and arts to predict
cyclones. This traditional tool is becoming of little help, however, due to the changing nature of
disasters, leaving the community with no choice but to rely on whatever early warning system is
in place.

4.5.2 Protecting houses and homesteads


Before the flood or cyclone season, families try to make their houses more resilient to disasters
by reinforcing walls and roofs with locally available resources, increasing the plinth level of
households and elevating the level of cow sheds. More financially secure households raise the
level of tube wells.

66 | P a g e
4.5.3 Storing essential items
Women preserve fuels, matches, dry food (such as rice, peas, puffed rice, flattened rice and
molasses), ropes and medicine at home and prepare portable mud stoves for future use. Women
often collect firewood to store in dry places for later use. You can borrow some rice from a
neighbors house, but how do you manage firewood? People may have the grains to cook, but
if they do not have fuel, they cannot eat anything. Female participant from Satkhira, Khulna.

Women also store fodder for domestic animals, seeds, food, harvest, blankets and valuables on
machas (high wood or bamboo structures for storage), which are also used to protect goats and
poultry from flood water. Many women store cooking utensils, productive assets (i.e. ploughs,
fishing nets) and other valuables under the soil to protect them from being washed away by
cyclones.

4.5.4 Teaching children


Educating the younger generations about how to protect themselves has been a key strategy
employed by households living in disaster areas. Teaching life-saving skills such as swimming
and understanding cyclone signals are examples of how parents prepare their children. No formal
mechanism for teaching children disaster preparedness exists, however; children usually learn
from family discussions or meal-time conversations. Various other activities such as animal
rearing, grazing and taking part in plantation work with their parents, during which children have
an opportunity to learn their parents indigenous knowledge, are additional examples.

4.6 Managing Strategies

4.6.1 Safety of family members


During disasters, women must constantly look after children, elderly and disabled family
members,and animals to ensure their safety. In flood-prone areas, women prepare elevated
platforms for family members with disabilities, using the chouki (traditional bed) and bamboo.
Often, to ensure that young children remain safe and are not carried off by flood water, parents
construct a fence-in to keep toddlers in one place.
67 | P a g e
4.6.2 Ensuring food security
Since most households are dependent on agriculture, flooding season is particularly threatening.
In general, there is an overlap between flooding time and the crucial rice harvesting period. If a
flood comes early in the monsoon season, it destroys the standing crop, which results in food
shortages. Disasters also affect the local economy, which is vital for generating employment
opportunities for non-farmers in both rural and urban areas.

When a household faces a food crisis during or after a disaster, women are responsible for
adjusting household food consumption by changing the type of food eaten (instead of consuming
rice, for example, they resort to alternate foodstuffs such as kaisha or kolmi, local vegetation,) or
by consuming less. Various studies acknowledge that since womens work is closely related to
agricultural production, family food and income generation, the burden of food shortage falls on
them.

4.6.3 Protecting assets


When flood water reaches the level of the livestock shed, people no longer keep their animals at
home. In some cases, they send their cattle to relatives. Some poor families try to sell livestock in
an attempt to hold cash security, preparing against the possibility that regular income could be
jeopardized.

4.6.4 Household work


Workload distribution within the family disproportionately affects women during a disaster.
When husbands or male members become unemployed, daily work for women increases even
more as they have to manage resources, feed the family and look after the elderly. In most cases,
caretakers for people with disabilities are also female. However, new studies have also
documented that work distribution is changing: a significant number of female participants
mentioned how their husbands changed their usual habits during flooding; many cook at home or
take care of children (Alam 2007).

68 | P a g e
4.6.5 Managing finance by borrowing credit, selling and mortgaging assets
In order to meet household financial needs, assets such as livestock, poultry and boats are often
sold. Selling other valuables, mortgaging, or borrowing against assets, or borrowing from
neighbors are other common strategies for survival. Many women in rural areas are now part of
microfinance organizations, using their memberships to access loans.

4.6.6 Migration and alternative employment


In many cases, especially in FHHs, women migrate as an adaptation strategy. Migration for
employment increases after disasters, when people move out of areas with job deficits in search
of work. Female migration, mostly from FHHs, contributes a major share of the informal urban
labor market10. The major activities that employ women in urban areas include serving as
domestic help, brick breaking, sewing, jute bag making, ash selling, fish and vegetable vending,
selling rice cakes and working in the RMG industry. For earning, they sometimes compromise
with their values and dignity (i.e. begging). Women who have alternative livelihood options
prefer not to migrate as laborers; households that have boats, for example, earn incomes by
ferrying people.

4.7 Country to Country, Regional and International Cooperation


Country to country cooperation in the areas of similar related challenges surrounding hazards of
disasters has acquired important space in national development planning. Through information
sharing and lesson learning, country to country cooperation emerges as an important tool in
facilitating mutually beneficial partnerships in the form of replicating good programmes and
practices in Bangladesh which prove to be useful in other countries. Arrangement of workshops
and study tours in this regard is the regular part of disaster management initiatives in
Bangladesh.

The NPDM builds on and is aligned with the objectives and priorities for action identified under
various international conventions, such as the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 200515, the
69 | P a g e
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and particularly, the
SAARC Framework for Action (SFA) 200615. Presently, the Disaster Management Bureau is
working closely with SAARC Disaster Management Center (SDMC) in New Delhi.

4.8 Addressing the different components of vulnerability of children


Investigations show that vulnerability of people in the course of disaster has several components
which include initial condition, livelihood resilience, opportunities for self protection and access
to social protection and social capital. For their dependent and risk prone positions, women and
children are particularly prone to any form of vulnerability. Children are often dependent on their
parents, particularly on their mothers, regarding almost all the matters related to their access to
nutrition, healthcare and life skill training. Disaster management in Bangladesh, for this reason,
is being mainstreamed in every policy planning and development processes in order to address
all these components of vulnerability of children and women.

70 | P a g e
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION

Women generally are at greater risk during disasters and their aftermaths because of multiple
factors. Most importantly, women are more likely than men to live in poverty. Poverty matters,
because it limits resources that in turn allow more opportunities for escape, or survival when
escape is impossible. Women interviewed by the team during the study were residents of Khulna,
and few had own arrangement of transportation. Under normal circumstances were able to get
around the safe zone by walking or by bus; when the village flooded after the cyclone, the
women who could escape their homes were then stranded around the village, unless they were
able to find someone with can help to bring them in safe zone.

Other factors worsen the situation for women. Women in most regions share a greater
responsibility for child care than men and more often than men have the home as their
workplace, with residences often of less stable construction. Even in the cyclone center they face
problems related to privacy and security. Women who are pregnant or recovering from childbirth
have limited mobility and face additional difficulties during disasters. Women also make up a
greater proportion of the elderly, typically one of the groups with the highest mortality rates
during disastersespecially when, as in Bangladesh, hospitals are far from the villages.

At the same time the vulnerability of children is worse than the women as they are completely
dependent on others. They are dependent on shelter, food, education and security. Moreover,
adolescent or under aged girls also suffers from different difficulties like early marriage.

The patriarchal elements of vulnerability of women will further eliminate womens opportunity
to overcome their vulnerability. Women, entrapped in disaster due to prolonged rescue operation
appears to be the most vulnerable group compared to other vulnerability contexts of women in
various known geophysical set ups. Womens resilience building demands womens
empowerment in all aspects of life: physical and mental, social, economical, political, and

71 | P a g e
cultural. The State must assume responsibility to remove common and known barriers towards
empowering women.
Effective and long term disaster preparedness is necessary to avoid casualties especially to
women and children. Resource limitation may not be an issue as study shows rich countries like
USA also not free from women and children vulnerabilities after the disaster. Awareness among
the people and reducing gender inequalities could be a subject to think of.

72 | P a g e
Appendix
Questionnaire

Name: Age: Village:

1. Do you think Women and children are more vulnerable to cyclones for various reasons?

a. Always b. Often c. Seldom d. Never

2. What were you wearing during the time of the disaster?

a. sari b. saloar kamiz c. maxi d. pants e. frock

3. Did you got the warning?


a. On time b. Immediate before disaster c. During disaster d. No

4. Did you take any measure to preserve food from disaster?

a. Didnt get sufficient time b. prepared but couldnt preserve c. preserved but taken by
other people d. Successfully preserved and used after the disaster

5. Did u take necessary measure to preserve drinking water?

a. Didnt get sufficient time b. couldnt preserve c. preserved but taken by other people
d. Successfully preserved and used after the disaster

6. Did you find difficulties to get safe drinking water after disaster?

a. Yes b. Not at all c. To some extent yes d. I preserved my own sources even after
disaster

7. How far the cyclone shelter was from your house?

a. Within a mile b. Within 5 miles c. Within ten miles d. More than ten miles

73 | P a g e
8. Were you here before the cyclone or migrated?

a. Permanent resident b. Migrated c. Visitor

9. Was there any separate arrangement for women and children in cyclone center?

a. Yes b. No c. There was but we couldnt use

10. Did you feel insecure in cyclone shelter?

a. Yes b. No c. Sometimes d. Sometimes specially at night

11. Was there any incident in cyclone center?

a. Threatened b. Incident happened c. No incident

12. During disaster does your privacy seems to be completely challenged?

a. Always b. Often c. Seldom d. Never

13. After the disaster have you suffered from any diseases?

a. Yes b. No c. Seldom

14. Do you have enough healthcare facilities after disaster?

a. Yes b. Partial c. No

15. Did the school in your area get damaged due to disaster?

a. Fully b. Partially c. Not at all

16. Is it functional now?

a. Fully b. Partially c. No

17. How long it took to be functional?

a. One month b. Six months c. More than Six months

18. What was your/earning members job before disaster?

74 | P a g e
a. Business b. Service c. Farming d. Jobless

19. What is your/earning members job now (after disaster)?

a. Same b. New c. Same but not as good as earlier d. Jobless

20. How fast did your receive the relief?

a. Fast b. Initially fast but later slow c. Slow d. Didnt receive at


all

21. Did you receive sufficient government help to improve socio economic condition?

a. Yes b. Partial c. Not enough d. Not at all

75 | P a g e
References

(1) Staff Writer (2009-05-30). Cyclone damages roads, embankment worth 100 crore
taka in Barisal. The New Nation. Retrieved in2009-05-30.(2) Nita Bhalla (2009-05-
29). Disease fears mount after cyclone Aila. Reuters.http://in.reuters.com. Retrieved
in2009-05-31.
(3) http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=90163.(4) http://www.o
xfam.org.uk/applications/blogs/pressoffice/2011/06/04/impending-health-crisis-in-
cyclone-aila-affected-areas/.

(5) http://www.actionaid.org/drc/index.aspx?PageID=4748
(6)Fischer, Henry W. 1994. Response to Disaster: Fact Versus & Its Perpetuation.
Landam,Maryland: University Press of America.

www.cylonic disaster.org

76 | P a g e