Quality of cyclone early warning services: a case study in remote off-shore island in Bangladesh

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Sezan Mahmud, Zerin Marzan Ashrafi and A Q M Mahbub, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Geographic location, the unique natural setting of the country and its tropical monsoon climate modify and regulate the climatic condition, makes Bangladesh more vulnerable to cyclones and storm surges. Previous studies have showed that 80–90 % of global losses and 53 % of total cyclone-related deaths worldwide, occur in Bangladesh and out of which, 42% of cyclone-caused deaths were recorded in the last two centuries. The Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP) is a unique joint program under the initiative of Government of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society that provides a robust cyclone early warning (CEW) system for the 13 coastal districts in Bangladesh. CPP ensures rapid dissemination of official Bangladesh Meteorological Department’s CEW signals to these communities. However, inconsistent CEW services are reported in several of these coastal communities. This study offered the quality assessment of CPP CEW services in Nijhum Island, a highly populated remotely located off-shore island in Bangladesh. Primary rural appraisal (household survey, focus group discussion and expert interview) were used for field data collection and Likert scale, for data analysis. Study revealed that cyclone early warning signal dissemination were restricted to small area covering only 35 percent of the total population. Moreover, local inhabitants had very poor understanding about disseminated CEW signals (flag signaling system, signal number & severity) although CPP initiated several training program to build and raise awareness. Consequently, people remained inactive during cyclone and reluctant to seek shelter which resulted in lack of proper post-disaster management. Moreover, local people had concern regarding accuracy of CEW signals disseminated by CPP. To ensure last mile connectivity of CEW services, it is highly recommended that local people should be given more training and awareness on CEW signals and how to respond to the same.