Bangladesh is prone to several kinds of natural disasters among which tropical cyclones with associated storm-surges, floods, droughts, tornadoes, landslides and riverbank erosions are most active and frequent. Besides, the occurrences of earthquakes at times make significant impact both on social life and topography of the country.
Floods of different types in Bangladesh are a complex phenomenon. Flash floods suddenly rise and fall rapidly. At much longer intervals (perhaps 20 years or more) flash floods overwhelm almost the whole landscape in northern part of the country as they did in 1968 and 1987. At an average time interval of about 3 to 4 years river floods extend beyond the active floodplains and damage crops on parts of the adjoining meander floodplains, mainly alongside distributary’s channels. The severe floods that attracted international attention are in 1974, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1998 and of many earlier years. In August-September, 1988, Bangladesh experienced an unprecedented flood causing loss of 1621 human lives and again during July September, 1998 the country experienced another flood which is the worst in the living memory and almost two-third area of the country was flooded.
The problems concerning environmental protection and disaster management have gained considerable recognition among the policy planners and the decision makers in the recent years in both developed and developing countries including Bangladesh. In Bangladesh various policies and programs are being undertaken to deal with the environmental and disaster management issues in the context of the country’s overall socio-economic planning and development process by the different public and private organizations. But it is generally observed that there is an often organizational gap at the research and implementation levels. In order to remove this gap endeavors are to be effectively reinforced and substantiated in the fields of environmental and disaster management for bringing about positive results. With a view to materializing this, it is felt very much to establish the Institute for Disaster Management (IDM) in Khulna University of Engineering & Technology, Khulna. The IDM in KUET, Khulna will have a lot of advantages because of its unique location since it is near the low lying coastal region where the shrimp culture which has been thriving well, the Sundarban’s mangrove forest and the growing industrial areas will be, among other, the areas of activities and research of the IDM.