Drought is the term used to describe a prolonged period of dry weather along with insufficient rainfall. It occurs when evaporation and transpiration exceed the amount of precipitation for quite some time. During droughts, the moisture content of the soil is not sufficient for normal crop growth. Lets discuss the causes, effects and solutions of droughts in Bangladesh
Causes of droughts in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, droughts occur mostly in the north-western regions. Rainfall is comparatively less in these regions than in other parts of the country. And so they are known as the drought-prone areas of the country.
Most of the rivers that flow through Bangladesh actually come from India and Myanmar. Barrages have been constructed upstream to hold the water back during the dry seasons, preventing their flow to the sea through Bangladesh. There is also the withdrawal of water upstream for human use.
This not only creates a scarcity of surface water in the north-west and south –west and south – west regions of the country, but it also prevents the groundwater level from refilling properly. As an effect, there is an overall reduction in the moisture in a vast region, and this contributes significantly to the drought.
This is a global problem, too. Deforestation results in a reduction of the water-holding capacity of the earth and leads to a lack of rainfall, ultimately leading to drought.
Some of the factors that lead to soil erosion are also major causes for drought in Bangladesh.
Effects of drought in Bangladesh
Lack of water is the main effect of drought, and so all the processes where the supply of water plays and important part are hampered.
People’s lives are at stake when they cannot find water to drink. Crops fail miserably and food runs short, often leading to malnutrition and famine. There is scarcity of fodder for livestock causing their death.
Bangladesh is a country based on agriculture and when its crops fail it means that the economy is going to suffer greatly. The price of food firebases as it becomes scarce. The vegetation loses all its green foliage, leading to the death of trees and plants. In a vicious cycle this leads to deforestation.
Some of the major droughts that have occurred in Bangladesh
- The 1973 drought was one of the most severe droughts in the country and was responsible for the 1974 famine in northern Bangladesh.
- The 1975 drought affected 47% of the entire country and 53% of the total population.
- The 1978-79 drought was one the most severe. It resulted in a loss of 2 million tons of rice and directly affected 2% of the cultivated land and 44% of the population.
Possible solutions in Bangladesh
Look at the causes of drought and suggest some possible solutions.
Remember that almost all environmental challenges are interconnected, and one problem will lead to another- e.g. deforestation can lead to global warming and climatic change, which can lead to drought.
So each problem may not necessarily have a particular solution. Read the section at end of Section G which discusses general solutions to environment problems.
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