Physical vulnerability and local responses to flood damage in peri-urban areas of Dhaka, Bangladesh


In Eastern Dhaka, perennial flood remains a constant threat to people and livelihoods. Learning from the micro-level experiences of the poor in the peri-urban areas of Dhaka provides insights on the intersections between physical vulnerability, flood response strategies, and adaptive capacity. Through a convergent mixed method, this study examines the physical vulnerability of residential buildings, flood damages, and local physical responses in three neighborhoods of Eastern Dhaka. Results show that the level of damage to buildings is the most important predictor of physical vulnerability to floods. Buildings that are older than 20 years old and built with natural materials are likely to experience high flood damages compared to buildings that are less than 10 years and constructed with durable materials. The study concludes that in addition to socio-economic interventions, a targeted and people-centered flood management regime that pays attention to age, material composition, and structural quality of houses is necessary to build residents' adaptive capacities and long-term resilience to flooding. This study contributes to the emerging work on grassroots responses to flood vulnerabilities with practical insights for urban planners and disaster management professionals on particular interventions needed to improve the performance of local responses to flood risks and vulnerabilities.

Publication Title

Sustainability (Switzerland)