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Climate resiliency and location-specific learnings from coastal Bangladesh

  • Sakib Mahmud
  • A. K. Enamul Haque
  • Kolpona De Costa
  • Summary

Considering the vulnerabilities of coastal communities against severe cyclones, our research explores how location-specific learning effects interplay with climate resiliency efforts based around private defensive strategies adopted by a socially heterogeneous coastal population. We analyzed a household survey data of southern coastal districts of Bangladesh that were exposed to 2007 Cyclone Sidr and 2016 Cyclone Roanu. Our empirical analysis reveals strong evidence of location-specific learning effects in terms of socially heterogeneous coastal households’ gradual investments toward storm-resistant homes. Our results indicate that households’ investment decision is influenced by their location relative to government-sponsored embankments and cyclone shelter programs. Location-specific learning effects on storm-resistant home improvements are also strongly evident if the households are living close to the nearest vehicular road, primary school, and the mangrove forest. Although household income and wealth play a significant role, access to non-governmental organizations and remittances have no significant influence. We recommend targeted post-disaster relief and rehabilitation programs for households living outside embankments and located further away from the mangrove forest. Access to external financing for storm-resistant homes, extending mangrove forest coverage along the coastlines, and information dissemination on best practices for low-cost storm-resistant homes are the other recommendations to develop climate-resilient coastal communities.

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