Coping strategies in riverbank erosion affected areas: A case study of Andharmanik village in Manikganj district.
AuthorRahman, Md. Abdur
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Bangladesh is considered to be the biggest delta in the world. It is crisscrossed by the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and the Meghna river system and their branches and distributaries. It is also considered to be one of the most disaster-affected countries in the world. In Bangladesh, there are few disasters that visit every year. Among them, flood and river erosion is a very common disastrous event. Each year thousands of people lose their crops, houses, livelihood, homestead land, cultivable land, and become homeless. Road, embankments, schools, mosques hospitals, and other rural infrastructures are damaged and eroded away due to river erosion. The erosion affected people migrate to cities or nearest town and they live in the urban slum areas. Some major effects due to the riverbank erosion are- displacement of people from one place to another, the effect on public health, educational structure, people's occupation and livelihood, unemployment rate increases, affect in agricultural production, transportation, etc. The major causes of riverbank erosion are flooding, deforestation, heavy rainfall, unplanned settlement, land use, the strong current of the river, over clearing of the catchment, gravel extraction, and poor river management. This study tried to explore the local people coping strategies with riverbank erosion of Andhermanik village in Harirumpur Upazila of Manikganj district. Primary and secondary data were used in the study. The data were collected by questionnaire survey, key informant interview, focus group discussions, and field observation. The results of the study showed that people tried to adapt with the adverse situation by their own techniques. People have experienced erosion more than two three times. The practiced coping strategies were composed into physical, economic, and social strategies. Physical strategies include evacuation, relocation, and migration. They also adopted housing-related coping strategies like selling, dismantling, shifting to new areas. Economic coping strategies include changing occupation, borough or loan money, opening business, etc. Household’s ability to adapt with river erosion depends on people’s socioeconomic and environmental conditions, such as education, income, and occupation. Though river erosion causes the loss of lives and properties, people’s indigenous coping techniques could significantly reduce their vulnerability without outside assistance. Effective early warning systems integrate local coping practices with modern technology and sustainably improve socioeconomic conditions are necessary to reduce the losses from riverbank erosion.