The impacts of cyclones Sidr and Aila on the health of the coastal people of Bangladesh

PhD thesis

Kabir, R. 2014. The impacts of cyclones Sidr and Aila on the health of the coastal people of Bangladesh. PhD thesis Middlesex University School of Law
TypePhD thesis
TitleThe impacts of cyclones Sidr and Aila on the health of the coastal people of Bangladesh
AuthorsKabir, R.

Global climate change is now a reality and this change is mainly happening due to global warming. The world has begun to witness the consequences of climate change with the increased frequency of extreme natural events like cyclones, tsunamis, hurricanes and floods. Populations affected by these extreme natural events are left helpless, miserable and in limitless agony. Due to its geographical location, topography, high population density, poverty and lower adaptive competence Bangladesh is considered to be highly vulnerable to natural disasters in the world. Climate changes have triggered an increase in the incidences of natural disasters (like cyclones) over the coastal region of Bangladesh. The coastal part of the country is the most vulnerable and the southwestern part of the coastal area is identified as environmentally handicapped by climate change. Climate change is openly threatening the very existence of people’s lives and livelhoods in Bangladesh.
In recent times Bangladesh was hit by two consecutive cyclones Sidr in 2007 and Aila in 2009. The effects of climate change on the environment interacts with the health and population in Bangladesh at numerous complex levels. There are direct health effects through various vector and waterborne diseases, but arguably more important indirect effects as well. So far, little is known about climate change and its impact on human health in Bangladesh. This study was devised following the recent super cyclone Sidr that hit Bangladesh in November 2007 and cyclone Aila that hit in May 2009. The study aims to assess the impact of climate change on health of the coastal population of Bangladesh. This study was conducted in the cyclone Sidr affected area Amtali Upazila of Barguna District and in the cyclone Aila affected area Koyra Upazila of Khulna district. A questionnaire survey was used to collect primary data from households of the affected populations. Focus groups with health service providers of the affected areas was also employed. A mixed method approach was used in this research. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics, frequency distribution, chi-square, correlation analysis and logistic regression analysis. Thematic analysis was used to analyse qualitative data.
This research concludes that climate change largely affects human health in Bangladesh. Natural disasters due to climate change are affecting the general and mental health of the population of the affected areas. Prevalence of diarrhoea, skin diseases, hepatitis (jaundice) and other infectious diseases has increased after the cyclones. The risk of injury and death also increased during the time of natural disaster. According to the health service providers’, climate change affected the mental status of people. On the other hand, the focus group discussion revealed that women, children and older adults are the most vulnerable group and are facing serious health concerns due to climate change. A majority of the health professionals, service providers and local community of coastal areas of Bangladesh are aware of the health impacts of climate change but their knowledge regarding health protection measures is limited. It is hoped that the findings of this research will have enormous policy implications.

KeywordsClimate change, Sidr, Aila, Natural disaster, Human health, Coastal areas, Health effects, Bangladesh
Department nameSchool of Law
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print04 Nov 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Nov 2015
Accepted16 Dec 2014
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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