Livelihood Impacts of Flash Floods in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh

November 2019 (VOL. 37, NO. 3)

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This article aims to understand local views and understandings of livelihood impacts of flash floods, and how to tackle the challenges. The work is completed through case studies of two villages in Cox’s Bazar District in south-east Bangladesh, Manirjhil and Chotojamchori. Based in theoretical understandings from disaster research of how underlying conditions rather than hazards cause disasters, this empirical study combined household surveys and participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques for collecting field data. The results detail local perspectives of underlying conditions—namely poverty, inequity, precarious livelihoods, and few contingency options—impacting livelihoods, especially highlighting food, water, disease, and migration, all of which link directly to livelihoods. A significant concern is the need to take out loans which can contribute to continuing poverty. Suggested strategies for dealing with flash flood impacts were based in local contexts and did not always account for broader remits, such as the deep-seated gendered nature of societal roles in Bangladesh or power and governance structures within the Bangladeshi context.