Logistics Management for Effective Flood Disaster Management
Subject: Management | Topics:

The main objective of this report is to analysis Logistics Management for Effective Flood Disaster Management. Other objectives of this reports are to assess the current availability of logistic equipment for early warning, rescue and relief operation for flood disaster at the study Unions, to investigate whether the current stock is adequate for effective and timely response for flood disasters and to explore appropriate logistic guideline/need for effective early warning, rescue and relief operation by ensuring active participation of Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMCs). Finally this report make swot analysis Logistics Management for Effective Flood Disaster Management.

 

Background of the Study

Bangladesh is prone to a number of natural disasters particularly floods, cyclones, tidal surges, riverbank erosion etc. The colossal losses of lives and properties caused by natural disasters with repeated frequency in short intervals make Bangladesh one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. The traditional disaster management model focusing on disaster relief and recovery has done little to redress these rising levels of risk. Following the devastating floods of 1988 and the cyclone of 1991, Bangladesh government has adopted a holistic approach embracing the processes of hazard identification and mitigation, community preparedness and integrated response efforts. Relief and recovery activities are now planned within an all-risk management framework seeking enhanced capacities of at-risk communities and thereby lowering their vulnerability to specific hazards (CDMP). In line with the paradigm shift from relief and response to comprehensive disaster management, the Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation before has been changed to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and in 2003, it was again renamed as the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management (MoFDM). A series of inter-related institutions were developed to ensure that planning and coordination of disaster episodes were performed in accordance with the Standing Orders on Disasters (SOD). Based on past experiences of natural hazards, including river and cyclonic floods, the government has issued standing orders from time to time, which have been compiled in 1997 by the Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management. These orders cover activities during:  pre-disaster phase, awareness and warning phase, disaster phase (once a natural calamity takes place), and post-disaster phase. There is a provision for preparing separate plans for disaster management at Union, Upazilla (sub-district) and District levels. Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMC) is the grass root level organization, which is near to the community and which bears the overall responsibilities of disaster management at field/community level. One of the major problems faced by UDMCs is the poor logistic arrangements for operating early warning, rescue & relief operation. It has been found that UDMCs don’t have adequate equipment for effective flood disaster management. Past experiences showed that disaster loss could be very significantly reduced if logistics could be ensured timely and effectively.  For example, mega phone can be used for dissemination of flood early warning and advising people to take safe shelters. Engine driven country boat is very essential for evacuating the marooned people. But UDMCs don’t have that much of resources to mobilize the equipment. Even Standing Orders on Disasters (SOD) says very little about the logistics requirements and accessibility. Therefore, the current study would aim at finding the underlying causes and would suggest an appropriate logistic guideline for Union Disaster Management Committees (UDMCs).

 

Overall Objective of the Study

To explore how early warning, rescue and relief operation could be more effective for reducing disaster loss through suggesting an appropriate logistic management.

Specific Objectives

To achieve the overall objective, there are three specific objectives:

  1. To assess the current availability of logistic equipment for early warning, rescue and relief operation for flood disaster at the study Unions.
  2. To investigate whether the current stock is adequate for effective and timely response for flood disasters.
  1. To explore appropriate logistic guideline/need for effective early warning, rescue and relief operation by ensuring active participation of Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMCs).

 

Methodology

The study has used data from both primary and secondary sources. Existing literatures on the issue have been reviewed for identifying the gaps. More information on the problem investigated has been collected from different sources like available books, websites, reports and study of NGOs and donors etc. For primary data, two Focused Group Discussions (FGD) were conducted with the targeted Union Disaster Management Committees (UDMCs). Moreover, resource inventory of the Unions has been prepared through introducing structured format.  The Unions have been selected based on vulnerability, poverty and previous disaster occurrences.  The study Unions are Kakua under Tangail Sadar Upazilla in Tangail District and Monsurnagar Union under Kazipur Upazilla in Sirajgonj District. Personal experiences gathered and direct field observations made from working with UDMCs may also be considered as primary sources for some of the information.

 

Bangladesh: History of Disaster and Impacts

Bangladesh is a disaster-prone country of an area of about 1,47,570 sq. km. with population nearing 150 million. The country is well within the tropics and is the largest delta in the world formed by the mighty rivers namely the Ganges, the Brahamaputra and the Meghna. Bangladesh has special geographical feature. It has the Himalayan range to the north. The Bay of Bengal to the south with its funneling towards Meghna estuary and the vast stretch of Indian land to the west. The combined affects of the role played by this special geographical features have significant bearing on weather system of Bangladesh. The weather system are not always favourable. Due to this weather system, Bangladesh becomes the worst victim of natural calamities causing colossal loss of lives and properties. Most of the people of this country are very poor. It is predominantly an agricultural country. The economy largely depends on weather. Major disasters that occur in Bangladesh are : tropical cyclone, tidal bore, flood, tornado, river bank erosion, earthquake etc. A large number of poor people are to live in vulnerable areas of the southern part of Bangladesh. The vulnerability is so miserable that they have to go and settle in the newly accreted land in Bay of Bengal and its surrounding areas which is occasionally hit by tidal bore or devastating cyclone. The adverse impacts of all the natural hazards affecting socio-economic condition need to be reduced for sustainable development. Realization of this reality, the Government of Bangladesh has undertaken a lot of plans and programs for disaster reduction through disaster management.

According to UNEP (2005), Bangladesh ranked third as disaster prone area in Asia and the Pacific region and most flood prone country according, ESCAP (1995). The risk to disaster appears to be an increasing trend for the country’s population.  In a thirty year period (from 1971 to 2000), a total of 2,16,150 people died in 181 disasters occurred in Bangladesh.  This number is higher compared to India (1,24069 in 345 disasters) over the same period (UNDP, 2003).  It has been estimated that in 2000 alone the area affected was approximately 220,000 acres, with a financial loss estimated at over three billion U.S. dollars.

The country benefits from a moderate amount of flooding in regards to its agricultural productivity, but at times the flooding increases to disastrous levels.  It is reported that Bangladesh experienced severe floods in 1954/55, 1974, 1987, 1988, and 1998 when about two third of the country went under water causing immense damage to lives and properties.  The flood in 1998 was termed “catastrophic” when up to 67 percent of the country’s land was inundated an average of 8 to 9 weeks. During that flood 55 of the total 64 districts (32 in the riverine areas of Jamuna, Brahmaputra, Padma and Meghna) and 33 million people were affected of which 18 million needed emergency food and health services.

The worst flood recorded was in 1998, and total damage was worth US $ 3 billion. It was estimated that cumulative loss of 1987 & 1988 floods was worth US $ 2 billion, reducing GDP by about 4% .  The area submerged in the flood of 1998 was about 100,000 sq km, which was much higher than the flood of 2004 that covered an area of about 30,582 sq km till August 4, 2004. The severity of the floods blighted the lives of about 30 million people and overstretched the entire flood response systems. The flooding, which caused property and infrastructure damage of US$ 7.2 billion, is the heaviest seen in Bangladesh since 1988 when it claimed (6 August 2004) over 650 dead and left 21 million homeless (Nizamuddin, 2001).

Many impacts of disasters go unnoticed by media headlines and international disaster statistics:

  • Families hit by disaster often do not send children – especially girls – to school.
  • Disasters leave women and girls with heavier workloads and often poorer health and at increased risk of domestic violence and sexual harassment.
  • Children are in greater danger in floods and drought, through drowning, starvation and disease.
  • Disasters directly cause disease and damage to health infrastructure, while indirectly lowering disease resistance and heightening malnutrition.
  • Disasters can lead women and girls to resort to sex work and risk HIV infection.
  • Disasters may increase rural to urban migration, and in cities disproportionately affect slum dwellers.

 

Climate Change: Future Risk

An additional factor to be considered in terms of future risks in Bangladesh involves the likely impacts of climate change over the next several decadesHuman development is facing potentially one of the biggest systemic shocks in recorded history, as fossil fuel use is warming the planet at a faster rate than at any recorded period in the last 10,000 years.  Nine of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1990 (IUCN, 2004). This in turn is causing catastrophes beyond our ability to control. The number of weather-related disasters has doubled in the past decade, affecting the lives of two billion people.

Unprecedented floods in Europe and the Himalayas have competed for headlines with catastrophic droughts in Southern Africa and smog in South East Asia. Pacific islanders are drawing up long term plans to evacuate, as rising seas salinate water supplies and erode coastlines.

Donor or MDG targets have not incorporated the risk of global warming or the weather-related disasters which it drives. This disaster ‘blind spot’ threatens to jeopardise not only the Millennium Goals, but the development process itself.  Current estimates project that global warming will exaggerate the planet’s hydrological cycle. This means, generally, that wet areas will get wetter and dry areas will get drier. More floods, more droughts and more disease. Sudden-impact hazards like tropical cyclones will also get more intense and frequent.  In the case of Bangladesh, the combination of more rainfall, and more cyclones, exacerbates risks and vulnerability, and increases the importance of risk management at every level.

Addressing the connections between local government and local communities requires an understanding of how different levels of the Government of Bangladesh have been mandated to deal with disaster management and DRR.  With an overview of the ways in which the government has sought to be more effective and structured, it is then possible to explore the roles of local government and their interface with communities.  This includes research on accountability mechanisms, on the ways in which responsibilities ‘trickle down’ to lower levels, and learning lessons from local government/communities and community resilience experiences.  This also includes an understanding of the various roles taken on by Bangladesh NGOs and by international NGOs (World Bank, 2006).

 

Bangladesh Government Efforts in Disaster Management

The Government of Bangladesh has taken a number of steps to improve its capacity to respond to and reduce the impact of natural disasters.  This included enabling legislation, such as the National Disasters Management Act (2002) and the development of a Comprehensive National Policy on Disaster Management.  The system established by the government has specific district structures to ensure that various measures have implementation mechanisms at lower levels of government.

Following the devastating floods of 1988 and the cyclone of 1991, Bangladesh government developed a more integrated system that sought to include hazard identification and mitigation, community preparedness and integrated response efforts. Relief and recovery activities are to be planned within an all-risk management framework, which should   contribute to enhanced capacities of at-risk communities, reducing their vulnerability to specific hazards (Tony, 2005).

As part of the conceptual and administrative adjustment from post-disaster relief and response to comprehensive disaster management, the Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation was re-formed to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief in 1993, and in 2003, it was again re-formed as the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management (MoFDM).  Along with the new ministerial structure, a set of coordinated institutions were established to provide the basis for planning and coordination of disaster episodes in accordance with the Standing Order on Disasters.

The Government of Bangladesh has also developed specific codes on ways to address cyclones, floods, drought and famine, and more recently work has been done on codes for earthquakes and to incorporate the lessons from the tsunami of 2004.  These codes are to establish a common approach at all levels of government, through the various levels from the Union Disaster Management Committee (including the most local levels of government bodies) to the highest level of the National Disaster Management Council headed by the Prime Minister.

The Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) was created as a professional unit at national level back in 1992 under the then Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief. DMB was assigned to perform specialist support functions working in close collaboration with local authorities at the District and Thana/Upazila level, as well as various officials authorities and concerned line ministries under the overall authority of high level Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMDMCC).

The DMB also has the responsibility to create public awareness on the severity and risks associated with natural and human-induced hazards and to formulate programs and projects that will better prepare at-risk communities and public officials to mitigate their consequences. As a technical arm to the Ministry of Food and Disaster management, DMB overview and coordinate all activities related to disaster management from national to the grass-root level. It is also entrusted to maintain an effective liaison with government agencies, donors and NGOs to ensure maximum cooperation and coordination in all aspects of disaster management.

As a continuation of the paradigm shift process, the Comprehensive Disaster Management Program (CDMP) has been designed as a long-term program of the Ministry of Food and Disaster management with multi-agency involvement. Funded jointly by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), the program was launched in November, 2003. Activities of CDMP have been designed to be implemented in two phases. The first phase of CDMP is a five-year program comprising of 5 broad components being implemented by different Sub Implementing Agencies. The first phase is expected to provide the proposed shift as well as undertake design, formulate and mobilize resource of the components under phase two.

DMB is a small professional unit, working at the national level to perform specialist support functions working in close collaboration with District and Thana level authorities, and the concerned line ministries under the overall authority of high level inter-ministerial committee (IMDMCC). It is a technical arm to the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management (MoFD) to overview and co-ordinate all activities related to disaster management from national down to the grass-root level.

In the past, disasters in Bangladesh were largely considered to be acts of God beyond any necessity for undertaking management activities to minimize risks and losses except temporary government responses to distribute relief during post disaster phase without taking into account the socio-economic implications of these events. Efforts had not been made to recognize the dependence of development in proper handling of disasters. But over the years, the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) has begun to put more emphasis on ways and means of reducing human, economic and environmental costs of disasters in Bangladesh (CDMP, 2003). It has been done through enhancing the national disaster management capacity to address to the various aspects of planning for disasters which includes prevention / mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and development (rehabilitation and recovery) activities. This broad concept of planning, though new in Bangladesh, is now firmly rooted. The government of Bangladesh has perceived that the negative impact of disasters can be suitably alleviated through a rational disaster management approach. The government believes that with some elementary preparedness and preventive measures such as risk analysis, land-use zoning, building codes, training and awareness build up, basic institutional arrangements, field level action planning etc., disaster reduction can be highly cost effective.

With the devastating floods of late 1980s and the killer cyclone of 1991, the concept of overall disaster preparedness in the country became clearer through discussions on variety of complex and inter-sectoral issues which cropped up in the course of implementation of the short term project of “assistance to the Ministry of Relief in the coordination of cyclone rehabilitation”. As a result, the Government of Bangladesh has taken the following significant steps during the last few years for building up institutional arrangements from the national to the village level:

  1. Establishment of a disaster management organization named Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) in 1993
  2. Renaming of the Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation as the Ministry of’ Food and Disaster Management (MoFDM)
  3. Establishment of Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at MoFDM

Establishment of Disaster Management Council and Committees from national down to field levels for overall disaster management.

 

Organizational Structure at the National Level

  1. National Disaster Management Council (NDMC): It is headed by the Hon’ble Prime Minister to formulate and review the disaster management policies and issue directives to all concerns.
  2. Inter-Ministerial Disaster Management Co-ordination Committee (IMDMCC): It is headed by the Hon’ble Minister in charge of the Ministry of’ Food and Disaster Management (MoFDM ) to implement disaster management policies and decisions of NDMC / Government.
  3. National Disaster Management Advisory Committee (NDMAC): It is to be headed by an experienced person having been nominated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister.
  4. Cyclone Preparedness Program Implementation Board (CPPIB): It is headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief to review the preparedness activities in the face of initial stage of an impending cyclone.
  5. Disaster Management Training and Public Awareness Building Task Force (DMTATF): It is headed by the Director General of Disaster Management Bureau to co-ordinate the disaster related training and public awareness activities of the Government, NGOs and other organizations.
  6. Focal Point Operation Coordination Group of Disaster Management (FPOCG): It is headed by the Director General of DMB to review and co-ordinate the activities of various departments/agencies related to disaster management and also to review the Contingency Plan prepared by concerned departments.
  7. NGO Coordination Committee on Disaster Management (NGOCC): It is headed by the Director General of DMB to review and co-ordinate the activities of concerned NGOs in the country.
  8. Committee for Speedy Dissemination of Disaster Related Warning/ Signals (CSDDWS): It is headed by the Director General of DMB to examine, ensure and find out the ways and means for the speedy dissemination of warning/ signals among the people.

 

Organizational structure at the field level

  1. District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC): It is headed by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) to co-ordinate and review the disaster management activities at the district level.
  2. Upazila Disaster Management Committee (UZDMC): It is headed by the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) to co-ordinate and review the disaster management activities at the Upazila level.
  3. Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMQ): It is headed by the Chairman of the Union Parishad to co-ordinate and review and implement the disaster management activities of the concerned union.
  1. Pourashava Disaster Management Committee (PDMC) headed by Chairman of Pourashava (municipality) to co-ordinate, review and implement the disaster management activities within its area of jurisdiction.
  2. City Corporation Disaster Management Committee (CCDMC) headed by the

Mayor of City Corporations to co-ordinate, review and implement the disaster management activities within its area of jurisdiction.

 

Standing Order on Disaster

To maintain proper co-ordination amongst the concerned ministries, government organizations and line agencies, and also to ensure their proper functioning during emergency, the Government has formulated a set of mechanisms. For the mechanisms to be operative, a guidebook titled ‘Standing Orders on Disaster’ has been designed as a basic tool. The standing orders outline the activities of each Ministry, major agency/ department so as to handle emergency situations efficiently. In the efforts of making the mechanisms effective, clear and comprehensive, national policy on disaster management and natural disaster management plan have been designed for consideration of the Government.

The entire disaster preparedness mechanisms meet the requirements of clear policies, provide scope for implementation of the NDMC policies & decision by high levels IMDMCC on an inter-ministerial basis, incorporate the role of the MDMR as the responsible line Ministry, provide for the integration of Armed Forces and reflect the crucial role of the DDMCs, UZDMCs and UDMCs.

Union Disaster Management is the grassroots level committee responsible for the overall disaster planning and management at Union Level. There is a specific section in ‘Standing Orders on Disaster’ (SOD) which clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of this committee. Their responsibilities have been categorized into three levels: before, during and after disaster. As per the SOD, UDMC is supposed to undertake different preparedness activities during normal time. This includes assessment of disaster risk, preparation of disaster management plan, undertake awareness activities, identification of shelters etc. During any disaster, UDMC is responsible for dissemination of early warning, evacuation of affected people, mobilization and distribution of adequate relief etc. UDMC undertakes damage & need assessment; and assists affected people for rehabilitation activities after any disaster. But there are huge gaps between theory and practices. UDMCs are hardly aware of their roles and responsibilities. Implementation of SOD is almost absent at the Union Level.

 

Logistics Management: A Key Issue for Disaster Management

Logistics is always a key consideration for any emergency operation. No operation can be efficient and timely without proper equipment, logistics and logistics personnel. Most of our emergency responses at Union level are operated on limited resources and logistics support. In most cases, Union Disaster Management Committees (UDMCs) have no or very few logistics support for disseminating early warning and operating search, rescue and relief activities. They don’t have adequate resources and knowledge for mobilizing the necessary equipment or logistics. Study findings from Kakua and Mansurnagar UDMCs suggest that logistics should be an important consideration for any emergency responses. The UDMCs should be equipped with adequate logistics like hand mike, rescue boat, tents, lifeboya, life jackets etc. They should also be equipped with proper knowledge of mobilizing and utilizing the logistics. This could be viewed as a good preparedness measure to reduce disaster losses.

 

Data Collection, Analysis and Findings

Case Study 1: Kakua Union, Tangail Sadar Upazilla, Tangail

 Profile of Kakua Union

Kakua Union is situated 20 k.m. west of Tangail Sadar upazilla and surrounded by the rivers Jamuna and Dhaleshwari.  The total area of the Union is approximately 25 sq.k.m. which includes 15 villages. The main occupation is agriculture where others like laborers, fishermen, service holders etc. also live there. Almost 30% of the total population is landless while only 32% are literate. The road communication is very bad; most of the roads are earthen and broken. River way is important means of communication for the inhabitants of Kakua. People usually use bi-cycles, motorcycles, rickshaw van etc. in dry season while boats are the only means during rainy season. The union experiences flood almost every year. River erosion is a regular phenomenon here.

Table: Basic information of the study area 1: Kakua Union

DistrictTangail
UpazillaTangail Sadar
UnionKakua
Area25 sq.k. m.
Population31580
Total number of Villages15
Total number of Families6316
Literacy rate32%
Main OccupationAgriculture
Major HazardsFlood, River Erosion

 

Physical Condition of Kakua Union

Though the Union is vulnerable to different natural disasters, there are very few infrastructures those could be used as shelters for the disaster affected people. Schools and education institutions are the main places where people generally take shelter.  But most of them are vulnerable and can’t be used during disaster due to unsafe conditions. There is only one formal flood shelter at Kakua Union.

Table : Infrastructure information of Study Area -1: Kakua Union

Sl #InfrastructureNumberConditionWhether  useable during disaster
Risk freeRisky
1Govt Primary School06

 

0204Yes
2High School03

 

0201Yes
3Ebtedia Madrasa02

 

02No
4Hafezia Madrasa03

 

0102Yes
5Flood shelter01

 

 

01Yes

Source: Kakua Union Office, 2008

Disaster History

The Union experiences moderate flood almost every monsoon. However, the major floods were in 1998, 2004 and 2007. Floods caused huge loss to the livelihood of the poor and marginalized people.  It destroyed standing crops and caused death of livestock and poultry. Though human death toll is not that much, floods destroyed the economic activities to a great extent.  River erosion is a common phenomenon in the locality which has rendered 1250 people homeless till 2008 (Contingency Plan, Kakua Union, 2009).

Table:Losses/Damages Information of Kakua Union during past Disaster Events

YearDisasterLoss/Damage
2007FloodHouses, roads, poultry, livestock etc. crop damage 850 acre of land.
2004FloodDeath 2, Houses, roads, poultry, livestock etc. crop damage 350 acre of land.
1998FloodDeath 5, Houses, roads, poultry, livestock etc. crop damage 650 acre of land.
1996-2008River Erosion1250 people became landless

Reference: Kakua Union Contingency Plan, 2009.

 

Profile of Interviewees

Union Disaster Management Committee is the grassroots organization responsible for overall disaster management e.g: problem identification, planning, execution of plan, resource mobilization etc. of respective Union. The responsibility of UDMC is categorized into three levels: pre disaster, during disaster and post disaster. Union Disaster Management Committee generally consists of 30-32 members.

 Table: Constitution of UDMC of Study Area 1: Kakua Union

Sl #NameDesignation/

Profession

Designation in the Committee
1Dr. Md. Khademul IslamUP ChairmanChairman UDMC
2Ms. MoraimUP memberMember –UDMC
3Ms. NazmiaraUP memberMember –UDMC
4Ms. Shetara BegumUP memberMember –UDMC
5Mr. ShafiqUP memberMember –UDMC
6Mr. AfzarUP memberMember –UDMC
7Mr. Asgar AliUP memberMember –UDMC
8Mr. Shahadat

Hosain

UP memberMember –UDMC
9Mr. Azam MollahUP memberMember –UDMC
10Mr. Ishaq AliUP memberMember –UDMC
11Mr. MotalebUP memberMember –UDMC
12Mr. Abdul KhaleqUP memberMember –UDMC
13Mr. Abdul KhademUP memberMember –UDMC
14Mr. Shekh FaridUP SecretaryMember Secretary –UDMC
15Mr.Shamsul HaqueFarmerMember –UDMC
16Mr. Ansar AliFarmerMember –UDMC
17Mr. AshrafulFarmerMember –UDMC
18Mr. Abdul JalilServiceMember –UDMC
19Mr. ShafiqServiceMember –UDMC
20Ms. AleyaServiceMember –UDMC
21Mr.Harunur RashidServiceMember –UDMC
22Mr. Kishore KumarServiceMember –UDMC
23Ms. MomenaServiceMember –UDMC
24Mr.Anisur RahmanServiceMember –UDMC
25Mr. Shah AlamServiceMember –UDMC
26Mr. Chnadra NathServiceMember –UDMC
27Mr. Abul HosainRetired soldierMember –UDMC
28Mr. Idris AliRetired soldierMember –UDMC
29Mr. Abdul KuddusFarmerMember –UDMC
30Ms. ManoaraVulnerable Woman RepresentativeMember –UDMC
31Mr.Abdur RahmanImamMember –UDMC

 

Logistics Arrangement and Management for Disaster Management

Logistics is an important consideration for any kind of disaster operation. The speed efficiency and quality of any disaster management largely depend on adequate and efficient logistics arrangement. It is possible for the Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMC) to reduce many disaster losses by ensuring adequate logistics. The current study finds the following logistics availability at the targeted Unions.

 (a) Early Warning

Early Warning is the mechanism for timely forecast of any impending disaster so that evacuation of at risk communities and assets are possible. Early warning dissemination is based on locally available microphone of mosques. There are 15 mikes at Kakua Union which are located at different mosques. UDMC Chairman/secretary receives the flood early warning massage from Upazilla Administration, Water Development board or NGOs and communicates the information with the ward members. Ward members ask Imams (Religious Leaders) of mosques to announce the flood early warning information through the microphones of mosques.

(b) Search and Rescue

Search and rescue is the process of identifying the victims/affected people and evacuating them to safe shelters. Effective and timely Search and Rescue Operations can significantly reduce the loss of lives and valuable rural assets like livestock, poultry etc. UDMC doesn’t have any Search and Rescue (SAR) equipment of their own. In times of disasters, they mobilize the local engine driven boats and conduct the rescue operations. Sometimes, they fail to manage boats timely which result in more causalities and loss. As UDMC doesn’t have any emergency fund, it becomes difficult for them to manage fuel or operation cost for rescue operation.

(c) First Aid and Medical Care

First Aid and medical care is essential before, during and after any disaster for saving lives and reducing casualties. The study has found that UDMC doesn’t have adequate knowledge and logistics for providing first aid and primary medical care.

(d) Water and Sanitation

Water is life, but polluted water also claims several lives. Water borne diseases are very common in the study Union during floods as there are scarcity of pure drinking water and lack of adequate sanitation facilities. There are only 10 tube-well and latrines at different informal shelters at Kakua Union. The number is very inadequate for the affected people taking shelter at these places. Sometimes people use flood water for drinking and domestics uses and become sick.

(e) Shelter and Shelter Materials

There are 14 informal shelters at Kakua Union of which nine are very risky and unsafe for use during disaster. Informal shelters are basically any high raised institution e.g-school, collage, UP office etc which are used as shelters during disasters. The number of informal shelter is very much inadequate for the affected people. As a result, many people have to be marooned at water during flood. They do not have any other options but to live with flood. Many people also take refuge at road sides. There are no shelter materials like polythene, tent etc stocked at Union Parishad. As a result many people have to stay under open sky.

 

Case Study: Monsur Nagar Union, Kazipur Upazilla, Sirajgonj

Profile of Monsur Nagar Union

Monsur Nagar Union is situated 10 k.m. east to Kazipur upazilla in Sirajgonj District. The total area of the Union is approximately 35 sq. k.m. and the total population is about 26390. The main occupation is agriculture where others like laborers, fishermen, service holders etc. also live there. Almost 72% of the total population lives under the poverty level while only 28% are literate. The road communication is very bad; most of the roads are earthen and broken. River way is the most important means of communication for the inhabitants of Monur Nagar. Most of the villages are basically riverine Chars. The union experiences flood almost every year. River erosion is a regular phenomenon here.

Table: Basic information of the study area 2: Monsur Nagar Union

DistrictSirajgonj
UpazillaKazipur
UnionMonsurnagar
Area35 sq.k.m.
Population26390
Total number of villages10
Total number of families5278
Literacy rate28%
Main OccupationAgriculture, Fishing etc.
Major HazardsFlood, River Erosion

 

Physical Condition of Monsur Nagar Union

There are 4 government primary schools, 10 non government primary schools, 3 high schools and 5 Hafizia Madrasa in Mansur Nagar Union. Though the Union is vulnerable to different natural disasters, most of the physical structures are vulnerable and can’t be used during disaster due to unsafe conditions. There is no formal flood shelter at Monsur Nagar  Union.

Table:  Infrastructure Information of Study Area -2: Monsur Nagar Union

Sl #InfrastructureNumberConditionWhether  useable during disaster
Risk freeRisky
1Govt Primary School040202Yes
2High School03

 

0102Yes
3Non Govt. Primary School100406No
4Hafezia Madrasa050203Yes

 Source: Monsur Nagar Union Office, 2008

 

Disaster History of Monsur Nagar Union

The Union experiences moderate flood almost every monsoon. However, the major floods are 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2007. Floods caused huge loss to the livelihood of the poor and marginalized people.  It destroyed standing crops and caused death of livestock and poultry. Though human death toll is not that much, floods destroyed the economic activities to a great extent.  The major river erosion took place in 1998 which claimed agricultural and homestead land of the poor char dwellers.

Table: Losses/Damages Information of Monsur Nagar Union during past Disaster Events.

YearDisasterLoss/Damage
2007FloodDeath-4, 340 acre crop damaged, Houses, roads, poultry, livestock etc. lost
2006Flood, River Erosion75 acre crop damaged,
2002Flood200 acre crop damaged
1998Flood, River ErosionDeath-2, 220 acre crop damaged, Houses, roads, poultry, livestock etc. lost

Reference: Monsur Nagar Union Contingency Plan, 2009.

 

Profile of Interviewees

Union Disaster Management Committee is the grassroots organization responsible for overall disaster management e.g: problem identification, planning, execution of plan, resource mobilization etc. of respective Union. The responsibility of UDMC is categorized into three levels: pre disaster, during disaster and post disaster. Union Disaster Management Committee generally consists of 30-32 members.

Table : Constitution of UDMC in Monsur Nagar Union

Sl #NameDesignation/

Profession

Designation in the Committee
1Md. Kamrul HasanUP ChairmanChairman UDMC
2Md. Hafizur RahmanUP SecretaryMember Secretary  –UDMC
3Ms. Rasheda KhatunUP memberMember –UDMC
4Ms. Fatema KhatunUP memberMember –UDMC
5Ms. Jorina KhatunUP memberMember –UDMC
6Mr. Habibur RahmanUP memberMember –UDMC
7Mr. Abdul KahalqueUP memberMember –UDMC
8Mr. Moksed AliUP memberMember –UDMC
9Mr. Anwar HossainUP memberMember –UDMC
10Mr. Abdur RahimUP memberMember –UDMC
11Mr. Abdul LatifUP memberMember –UDMC
12Mr. Nabab AliUP memberMember –UDMC
13Mr. Abdus SattarUP memberMember –UDMC
14Mr. Faridul IslamUP memberMember –UDMC
15Mr. Abdus SattarTeacherMember –UDMC
16Mr. MofazeelFreedom FighterMember –UDMC
17Mr. MainulTeacherMember –UDMC
18Mr. ShahidulFarmerMember –UDMC
19Mr. Gazi HafizTeacherMember –UDMC
20Mr. HafizFarmerMember –UDMC
21Mr. AnwarNGO workerMember –UDMC
22Mr. Abul KalamTeacherMember –UDMC
23Mr. SalamFarmerMember –UDMC
24Ms. MajedaFWAMember –UDMC
25Ms. JesminTeacherMember –UDMC
26Ms. PiaraHousewifeMember –UDMC
27Mr. Akbar HosainHIMember –UDMC
28Mr. Ishaq AliTeacherMember –UDMC
29Mr. Shahab UddinFarmerMember –UDMC
30Mr. DawlatNGO WorkerMember –UDMC
31Mr. JohriulNGO workerMember –UDMC
32Mr. AmzadLandlessMember –UDMC
33Mr. AnwarDay LaborerMember –UDMC

 

Logistics Arrangement and Management for Disaster Management

Like Kakua Union, availability of Logistics is an important issue for Monsur Nagar Union. It is possible for the Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMC) to reduce many disaster losses by ensuring adequate and effective logistics. The current study finds the following logistics availability at MonsurNagar Union.

 (a) Early Warning

For MonusrNagar UP, early warning dissemination is a great challenge. Community people hardly get timely and reliable early warning messages. Unavailability of adequate early warning equipment is one of the main causes for this. Early warning dissemination is based on locally available microphone of mosques. There are only 10 mikes at Monsurnagar Union which are located at different mosques. UDMC Chairman/secretary receives the flood early warning massage from Upazilla Administration, Water Development board or NGOs and communicates the information with the ward members. Ward members ask Imams (Religious Leaders) of mosques to announce the flood early warning information through the microphones of mosques. However, large number of population always remains out of coverage.

(b) Search and Rescue

Like Kakua Union, Monsur Nagar UDMC doesn’t have any Search and Rescue (SAR) equipment of their own. In times of disasters, they mobilize the local engine driven boats and conduct the rescue operations. Sometimes, they fail to manage boats timely which result in more causalities and loss. According to the UDMC Chairman,  they could have saved more lives and assets if early warning would have been disseminated timely and efficiently.

(c) First Aid and Medical Care

Like Kakua Union, Monsur Nagar UDMC doesn’t have adequate knowledge and logistics for providing first aid and primary medical care. Though some public health officials are the members of the UDMC, it is not possible for them to provide the support alone. They suggested trained volunteers for first aid.

(d) Shelter and Shelter Materials

There are 22 informal shelters at  Monsurnagar Union of which only nine could be used during disasters. These informal shelters are basically any high raised institutions e.g-school, collage, UP office etc which are used as shelters during disasters. The unsafe infrastructures need to be repaired for enabling more people take shelter during disasters.

The number of informal shelters is very much inadequate for the affected people. There is no formal shelter at this Union. Thousands of people have to live under open sky during disasters due to limited number of shelters.

(e) Water and Sanitation

The water and sanitation situations in these shelters are not adequate for the sheltered population. Moreover, most of the existing tube wells and latrines also went under water during floods. Sometimes people use flood water for drinking and domestics uses and become sick.

 

Challenges for Effective Logistic Management in Kakua and Monsur Nagar Unions 

The challenges are many starting from the policy level to the implementation level. The Standing Order on Disasters (SOD) clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the disaster management committees from national to local level. But it says nothing about resource mobilization including logistics issues for developing and implementing of disaster management plans. The draft Disaster Act which is awaiting for cabinet approval, also lack such guidance. As a result, the disaster management plans are being developed by the Union Disaster Management Committees (UDMCs) just for the sake of doing it. It doesn’t reflect concrete actions as they know that they will not be able to implement it due to lack of resources. Again, the plan is much focused on relief materials. The committee members often don’t have the clear understanding that effective logistics management is crucial to efficient disaster management. Though some international and national NGOs support the UDMCs for building their capacities and developing contingency plan/disaster management, most of them also don’t consider logistics issue. In recent times, CARE Bangladesh through their local partners has handed over some early warning and rescue equipments to these two UDMCs. The UDMCs opined these would help them to respond to disasters more quickly and efficiently.

 

Recommendations and Conclusion

 Major Recommendations of the Study

Logistics arrangement plays a very vital role for making any disaster response a success. The current study has found that both Kakua and Monsurnagar Unions are experiencing many of the disaster losses due to lack of adequate equipment, logistics and relevant knowledge. The speed, efficiency and the quality of the disaster management can be improved by ensuring adequate and efficient logistics arrangement. It is possible for the Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMC) to reduce many disaster losses by ensuring adequate logistics. The current study recommends the following logistics arrangement at the targeted Unions.

(a) Early Warning

Current mechanism of the early warning dissemination at the study Unions is not able to cover the whole union. The places where there are no mosques or mikes (micro phones) remain uncovered. The people of that area do not get early warning timely. Therefore, at least three megaphones/hand-mikes are required at these Unions. The megaphones will be used by the community volunteers. They will move around the vulnerable locations and disseminate early warning to the affected people. The megaphones could also be used during relief distribution.

(b) Search and Rescue

Kakua Union requires at least 05 (five) while Monsurnagar Union requires at least 04 (four) engine driven country boats to operate timely and effective search and rescue operations. Both the Unions face many problems to mobilize boats from the boat owners during flood. As a result the rescue operation gets delayed causing more casualties. If they can have their own boat, it will be easier for them to operate rescue operation. In normal time, they can lease the boats to others and earn money. This money can be deposited to generate an emergency fund.

(c) First Aid and Medical Care

Saving lives is the first and foremost priority for any disaster response. As there are very few health officials available at the Union level, community volunteers have a great role to play. They should be at least four teams of first aid with adequate training and equipment in each union. Each team can be provided with a first aid box containing necessary medicine and apparatus. For the carrying patient to the nearby hospital or health complex, one boat in each Union can be designed as water ambulance. This initiative can save lives of many not only during floods but also during regular time.

Table : List of equipment/logistics additionally required for effective disaster management at Kakua Union

Sl #Type of EquipmentName of

Equipment

Number/

Quantity required

1.Early WarningHand Mike/Mega Phone03
2.Search & RescueCountry Boat (engine driven)05
3.First Aid & medical careFirst Aid Box04
Water Ambulance01
4.Shelter MaterialsShelter04
Polythene2000 pc
Tent100 pc
5.Water & SanitationTube well & latrine at Shelters08
Tube well Head & extra pipe05
ORS1000 pc
6.OthersEmergency Store at Union Level01

Source: FGD Questionnaire of Field Work

(d) Shelter and Shelter Materials

Construction of shelters is the most important area to be looked at. At least four shelters should be constructed at both the Unions. The shelters should be designed for multipurpose usage. It could be used as school/colleges, community center etc during normal time. In addition, minimum 2000 pieces of polythene and 100 pieces of tent should be stocked at the Union level. Polythene and tent could be used as temporary shelters and ensure a temporary roof for those staying under open sky.

Table: List of equipment/logistics additionally required for effective disaster management at Monsurnagar Union

Sl #Type of EquipmentName of EquipmentNumber/Quantity required
1.Early WarningHand Mike/Mega Phone03
2.Search & RescueCountry Boat (engine driven)04
3.First Aid & medical careFirst Aid Box04
Water Ambulance01
4.Shelter MaterialsShelter04
Polythene2000 pc
Tent100 pc
5.Water & SanitationTube well & latrine at Shelters08
Tube well Head & extra pipe05
ORS1000 pc
Chlorine HTH100 kg
6.OthersEmergency Store at Union Level01

 Source: FGD Questionnaire of Field Work

(e) Water and Sanitation

Water and Sanitation is one of the important areas that require due attention. At least 08 nos additional tube-wells and latrines are required at the shelters for both the Unions. Moreover 05 nos tube well head and extra pipes should be kept preserved at the emergency store. The tube well head and extra pipe could be used for raising the inundated tube-well during flood time. There should be adequate stock of ORS and alum at the emergency store which could be used for water borne diseases and for purifying water respectively.

(f) Community Emergency Store

There should be an Emergency store at each Union Parishad for ensuring smooth flow of logistics during emergencies. Some of the item mentioned above such as mega phone/hand mike, first aid box, polythene, tent, alum, ORS, tube-well head etc. should be stored properly at this store. The store should always kept neat and clean. There will be stock register to keep record of current stock and issue of material/equipment for usage. The emergency store will serve as a one stop point of all the logistics/equipment available at the Union. A skilled and honest person will be responsible for the managing the store.

(g) Training on Logistics Management 

Training is one of the important ways to build capacity and knowledge. None of the UDMC members are knowledgeable on logistics issues. Some selected persons should be trained on the issue who will be working as focal person for logistics during any disasters.

(h) Resources/Budget

Resource mobilization is always a great challenge for poor country like Bangladesh. However, budget/resources can be mobilized for logistics purpose from different sources.

UP can allocate a small portion of its budget for this purpose. Money can also be collected through subscription from rich, businessmen, community people etc. Many national and international NGOs also can assist for mobilization of logistics for UDMCs.

Community people and UDMC should create pressure and advocate with Upazilla Administration and LGED for construction of shelters. This is true that all resource could not be mobilized overnight, but there should be good will, commitment and continuous efforts from UDNCs for this purpose.

(i) Monitoring and Follow up

Many initiatives are failed half way due to lack of proper monitoring and follow up. Self monitoring is the best way to deal this issue. As the problem of the Union is not static rather dynamic, the logistics need will also be changed from time to time. UDMCs should closely monitor the need and try to accommodation with the need. There should always be an after action review or follow up activities after any disasters. This will help them to know the strength and weaknesses, and plan for future taking learning from the past. Upazilla Disaster Management Committees.

 

Conclusion

Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMC) is the gross root organization or committee for overall disaster management planning and implementation at the Union level. The Disaster Management Plan should be very comprehensives and should reflect realistic activities. Unfortunately very important issue like logistics is always left out from the plan. UDMC should pay due attention in this regard. More planned, coordinated and equipped response actions can be taken by ensuring proper and efficient logistics arrangement. This is true that our national and local government (UP) has limitation of resources for mobilization the necessary logistics. At the same time it is also true that many of these challenges can be encountered by showing enthusiasm and commitment only. Logistics arrangement and management need to be strengthened for reducing the disaster losses. The Standing Orders on Disaster (SOD) describes the roles and responsibilities of different disaster management committees. But it says very little about resource mobilization for implementation of disaster management plan. Like Kakua and Monsur Nagar Unions, most of the disaster prone Unions in Bangladesh face the same challenges due to lack of adequate and effective logistics arrangement.  Government’s Disaster Act (which is awaiting cabinet approval) and Standing Orders on Disaster (SOD) should take the issue into account provide due attention for ensuring effective logistics availability and management at all levels. NGOs working with the UDMCs should also play a vital role for providing knowledge and technology to the UDMCs for effective logistic management. Finally, the UDMCs should be more sensitized on their roles and responsibilities and play proactive role for planning, mobilizing and using logistics for timely and efficient emergency responses.

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