Home » Article » Cyclone evacuation in Bangladesh: Tropical cyclones Gorky (1991) vs. Sidr (2007)

 
 

Cyclone evacuation in Bangladesh: Tropical cyclones Gorky (1991) vs. Sidr (2007)

 

BIMAL K. PAUL(1), HARUN RASHID(2), *,  M. SHAHIDUL ISLAM(3)  AND  LEN M. HUNT(4)
1. Department of Geography, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
2. Department of Geography and Earth Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA
3. Department of Geography and Environment, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
4. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Lakehead University Campus, Thunder Bay, Canada ON P7B 5E1

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Based on two separate post-cyclone pilot surveys on evacuation behaviour during two category 4 tropical cyclones in Bangla-
desh – Gorky in 1991 and Sidr in 2007 – this study attempts to explain why the overwhelming majority of cyclone victims did not
participate in evacuation initiatives, irrespective of significant changes in cyclone preparedness in Bangladesh following 1991.
Although the two surveys were conducted in different time horizons – one about 10 years following the catastrophic event (Gorky)
and the other in the immediate aftermath of the event (Sidr) – the cyclone victims cited similar reasons for their lack of evacuation
to designated cyclone shelters. Despite recent improvements in cyclone warning systems and a major expansion of public
cyclone shelters in coastal Bangladesh, which are clearly reflected in significant increases in formal evacuation, from only
3 per cent of the Gorky respondents to 33 per cent of the Sidr respondents, the lack of adequate numbers of shelters and
problems with the cyclone warning systems have been attributed by the respondents as the principal deterrents of evacuation to the
designated shelters. Most of the other factors, such as problems with logistics, gender issues, anxiety about the security
of possessions left at home, and respondents’ perceptions and experience of the cyclone hazards, are consistent with the findings
of previous studies on the Gorky event, in particular, and other studies on cyclone/hurricane evacuation, more generally.
Keywords: coastal Bangladesh; cyclone Gorky; cyclone shelters; cyclone Sidr; cyclone warnings; evacuation initiatives

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