Last update:
2018-12-18

Cyclone Aila affected people demand adequate disaster relief, Bangladesh

Thousands of people affected by cyclone Aila in 2009 are yet to be rehabilitated. How will Bangladesh deal with more of such events due to climatic change? Which rights of the disaster affected people should be recognised and protected?


Description:

The Aila cyclone hit people of coastal Khulna and Satkhira districts strongly on May 25, 2009. By collapsing few embankments, the cyclone submerged significant parts of the districts with strong tidal surge and left hundreds killed and thousand others homeless and distressed. The areas were not being rehabilitated and there was no move to take the affected people back to their lands that remained submerged to tidal surges. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Cyclone Aila affected people demand adequate disaster relief, Bangladesh
Country:Bangladesh
State or province:N/A
(municipality or city/town)Khulna, Satkhira districts
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Wetlands and coastal zone management
Other
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

As per the initial damage assessment report, dated 26-05-09 of the Disaster Management Bureau, Aila has damaged the embankments of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) in Khulna district, affecting the Dacop, Koira, Paikgachha, Butiaghata Upazillas (administrative tier below District), while in Satkhira district, Aila completely destroyed 83,089 houses (report of the Upazilla Disaster Management Committee dated 27-05-2009).

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Type of populationRural
Affected Population:496,400
Start of the conflict:25/05/2009
Relevant government actors:Ministries of Water Resources; Food and Disaster Management; Local Government, Rural Development & Co- Operatives; Agriculture; Health and Family Welfare; Environment and Forest; Director Generals, BWDB; Disaster Management Bureau; Deputy Commissioners, Khulna, Satkhira; Executive Engineer, Divisions-1 and 2, BWDB; Upazilla Nirbahi Officers, Dacop, Koira, Shyamnagar, Asasuni Upazillas of Satkhira Districts.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Dacop Nagorik Parishad (local group that organised to claim adequate disaster relief)

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA)

www.belabangla.org
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
translation missing: en.m.mobilizing_groups.fisher_people
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (undecided)
Migration/displacement
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:The local group Dacop Nagorik Parishad, in collaboration with a national level NGO called Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), approached the High Court through a Writ Petition (No. 8483 OF 2009) for legal remedy. On 17-09-2009, the High Court issued a show cause notice upon the government asking it to explain as to why they shall not be directed to (i) reconstruct/repair the damaged embankments within February, 2010, (ii) protect and maintain all water structures from contrary use, and (iii) construct more cyclone shelters in the coastal districts to protect the legal and fundamental rights of the disaster affected people.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Some embankments are yet to be constructed. The construction work being done with support from the World Bank is progressing slow . As a result, thousand of people are still living in shafts constructed over flood embankments, while male members of the affected families are migrating elsewhere for work. Areas face severe shortage of potable water. People's livelihoods are at stake.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Agriculture and Sanitary Improvement Act, 1920; Embankment and Drainage Act, 1952; Bangladesh Water Development Boards Act, 2000; Water Resource Planning Act, 1992; Local Government (Union Parishads) Ordinance, 1983; Upazilla Parishad Act, 1998; Standing Orders on Disaster Management, 1997; Climate Strategy and Action Plan (2009)
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Other documents

Picture of Aila
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Picture of Aila
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Picture of Aila
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Picture of Aila
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Picture of Aila
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Aila-Judgement WP 8483 of 2009
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Newspaper Report
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Picture of Aila
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Picture of Aila
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Picture of Aila
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Picture of Aila
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Picture of Aila
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affected area Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Aila#/media/File:Cyclone_aila_affected_area_-_11.jpg
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Cyclonic Storm Aila at peak intensity before landfall Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Aila#/media/File:SCS_Aila_at_peak_intensity.jpg
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Meta information
Contributor:Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), [email protected]
Last update18/12/2018
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