Natural disasters: Illness, medical expense highest in Sunamganj

Some 13.3 million people in coastal areas of Bangladesh will lose their homes due to climate change by 2050, according to World Bank projections

Bangladesh ranks ninth on the list of countries at high risk due to climate change as extreme weather conditions like heavy rains, cyclones and river erosion increase every year.

According to World Bank projections, by the year 2050, some 13.3 million people in the coastal areas of Bangladesh will lose their homes due to the adverse impacts of climate change. It will also put people at health risk while treatment costs are rising with the inadequacy of the medical system.

A similar picture was found in a survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), conducted on more than 7.5 million families affected by natural disasters in the country in six years (2015-2020). The number of ill members of those families was 2,588,925, and they spent Tk4,000 crore on treatment. 

The people of Sunamganj have been sick the most because of natural disasters, according to the Bangladesh Disaster-Related Statistics 2021 (BDRS) data published by the BBS.

Some 237,584 people fell ill in Sunamganj during the period, which is 9.2% of the total number of affected people.

Netrokona ranked second with about 164,000 people (6.3%) falling ill in the district due to disasters.

According to the survey data, the people of Sunamganj had to spend Tk345 crore and Netrokona Tk264 crore on treatment during the period.

Floods key reason behind illness

After reviewing the survey, it was found that the major causes of illnesses in Bangladesh were floods, waterlogging, cyclones and drought, with flood-related diseases contributing to 50% of the cases covered in the survey.

In those six years, at least 1,412,684 people fell ill due to floods in Bangladesh.

Among them, 383,000 people (14%) fell ill due to waterlogging and some 327,221 people (12%) due to cyclones.

This report was written in collaboration with Dataful