14 Dec 2018 - In 1970, the world’s deadliest storm, known as the Great Bhola Cyclone, killed between 300,000 and 500,000 people in what is now Bangladesh. In 1991, a violent cyclone accompanied by tidal surges up to 30 feet high took an estimated 138,000 lives. In 2007, Cyclone Sidr claimed over 3,400 lives.
Last May, Cyclone Mora affected over 3 million people, killing at least six, damaging or destroying 52,000 homes, and leaving hundreds of thousands in need of shelter.
Of the world’s seven tropical cyclone basins, the Bay of Bengal is perhaps the most dangerous, its funnel shape and shallow waters fostering some of the most destructive storms in history.
For those living along Bangladesh’s densely-populated, low-lying coastline, the risks are growing, as climate change drives rising sea levels, warmer oceans and increasingly ferocious cyclones.
"I live on a small island. When storms hit, they damage houses and land and pour saline water into the paddy fields and crops. Already I’ve shifted my home once due to river erosion and it is further in danger because the mighty river Meghna is only one kilometer away." Adition Chandra Das, Rahmanpur, South Sakuchia, Monpura, Bhola
In a bid to increase natural protection for vulnerable residents, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), together with Bangladesh’s Forest Department, has been working with communities on a unique programme expanding a greenbelt of mangroves and promoting more-resilient, multi-species forests.
After two years, the programme, with support from the GEF-Least Developed Countries Fund, is making strong headway, embracing both participative design and community-based management in its implementation.
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