The Bangladesh government’s Delta Plan 2100 -combination of water governance, interactive analyses and design, and adaptive delta management – will be written over the next 2.5 years by a Dutch–Bangladeshi consortium of government departments, research organisations and engineering consultants. The Netherlands has pledged an initial €7 million ($9.7 million) to develop the strategy. “Having the Netherlands and their invaluable treasure of experience on board is a big push for our flood-defence efforts,” says Shamsul Alam, head of the general economics division of Bangladesh’s planning ministry, which coordinates the Delta Plan.
Previous efforts at flood defence in Bangladesh have not solved the problems. In 1990, the first flood action plan called for barriers to be built along main rivers: in less than 10 years, some 3,500 kilometres of embankments sprang up. In 2000, the country’s focus shifted towards constructing more storm shelters and improving warning systems — but even so, about three-quarters of Bangladesh’s population remains exposed to severe flooding. Figures from different government sources at district level estimated around 700,000 people have been marooned under 10 districts (Kurigram, Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat, Sirajganj, Bogra, Rangpur, Jamalpur, Nilphamari, Bhola and Sherpur) and 816,000 affected. On Tuesday an official at the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre told Reuters the situation in Dhaka will only worsen in the next few days.