The Role Of The Media In Disaster Management: The Case Of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the most disaster vulnerable countries in the world due to its geological location, high density of population and poverty. Though the international community knows the country as a leader in disaster management, with the passage of time, the disaster vulnerability of it is increasing. Moreover, climate change adds a new dimension to community risk and vulnerability. Although the magnitude of these changes may appear to be small, they could substantially increase the frequency and intensity of existing climatic events (floods, droughts, cyclones etc). Current indications are that not only will floods and cyclones become more severe; they will also start to occur outside of their ‘established seasons’ (Ali et al., 2012).
It is possible to reduce the adverse impacts of disasters and avoid damage to property and infrastructure in the region and save many lives by providing better and effective information, awareness and communication to all the stakeholders involved. Timely mass media response about impending disasters can lead to appropriate individual and community action, which is the key to implementing effective disaster prevention strategies, providing relief and rescue operations including evacuation of people to safe areas. The Media (both electronic and print) thus plays a very important role in disaster risk reduction as it also plays a vital role in educating the public about disasters, warning of hazards, gathering and transmitting information about affected areas and alerting government officials and other stakeholders, relief organizations, and the general public to the specific needs about disaster preparedness, response and relief.
Major Disasters in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is exposed to a multitude of natural hazards with highly varying occurrence, season and extent of effect.
Floods are annual phenomena in Bangladesh with the most severe occurring during the months of July and August. Four types of flooding occur in Bangladesh:
- Monsoon floods along major rivers during the monsoon rains (June-September)
- Flash floods caused by overflowing of hilly rivers of eastern and northern Bangladesh (in
- April-May and September-November)
- Pluvial floods caused by drainage congestion during heavy rains
- Coastal floods caused by storm surges