Flood warning system: a cost- benefit analysis of the northern Bangladesh
AuthorHasan, Mohammad Kamrul
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Bangladesh is one of the most flood-prone countries in the world. As a developing country with poor economy, structural measures to control floods in the world’s mighty rivers is a big challenge. Settings up a new devise of non-structural measures are needed minimising destructive effect of floods. Improvement of Early warning system through mobile could be an efficient approach to reduce the risk. Therefore, the study analyses the benefits and costs of early warning system (EWS) for flood hazard, and discusses issues associated with the design and implementation of early warning system to achieve the benefits expected to stem from the EWS. Both qualitative and quantitative methods (semi-structured surveys, field visits, and interviews) including participatory methods for data collection have been conducted in this study. A combination of a mathematical model and mobile data collection apps (Magpi) has been carried out for data collection and analysis. For survey sampling, 50 participants (including female respondent), out of 2000 households of V2R and CBDRR project in two unions in Sirajganj were taken. To compare the findings with an uncontrolled group, the same number of participants was taken for survey in Kurigram. In effort to investigate the extent and type of precautionary and protective measures taken by community people in response to flood, the study found that 98 % of the respondents took measures to protect educational materials while 96% tried to protect household belongings. Eighty percent of the participants shifted valuables to a safer place and 52% moved their livestock to the safety. With regard to the frequency of disseminating the flood warning message from V2R, a total of 76% (62% for Sirajganj and 90% for Kurigram) participants informed that they received warning message at least 7 days before the onset of flood. In both cases, miking and mobile based IVR have been found to be the best options to the respondents. The monetary benefit of flood early warning in the project and non-project areas under has been assessed taking into account different factors including different flood protection intervention. Through in-depth discussions with villagers, community leaders and local development workers and government officials, it was determined that the community based resilience and risk reduction projects provided significant economic, social, and environmental benefits that were unquantifiable. For example, benefits associated with increased social cohesion, education, empowerment, saved lives, and indirect impacts on economic capital were not considered in determining the Benefit and Cost ratio, but were considered in the qualitative analysis. The study explored minimum, maximum, average and gross monetary value of each sector in Sirajganj (controlled area) has benefited from early flood warning through the mobile voice message system compared to Kurigram. The cost of family level damage and recovery are considered together to calculate the net benefit per family. Flood victim households were able to save additional BD TK 24,000 ($285) annually through the mobile phone based forecast service at Sirajganj compared to households that do not receive service at Kurigram. The study suggests establishment of a comprehensive early flood warning broadcasting equipped with IVR by the government is crucial to reach flood victim community. Setting up a functional pathway for ensuring consistency in message development and dissemination is also an issue of critical importance. Government and other actors need to connect local level stakeholders in FW System to ensure as many people as possible are warned, to lessen the damage"