From Crisis to Development Coping with Disasters in Bangladesh edited by Hameeda Hossain, Cole P. Dodge and F. H. Abed ISBN 984 05 1194 7 1992 416pp 215x136mm HB Tk.360.00 US$23.00
Survival of natural disasters is more than a question of individual heroism. For Bangladesh, exposed to recurrent cyclones and floods, the question of how to minimize the impact of the disaster is of immediate relevance. A year ago on 29 April 1991 strong cyclonic winds and tidal bore battered the coastline of Bangladesh and dislocated its population. From Crisis to Development: Coping with Disasters in Bangladesh provides a valuable analyses of how the people have learned to cope with natural disasters. In the first section, those who were directly involved with disaster management have drawn upon their experience to review the successes and lapses in the preparations for warning, relief and rehabilitation taken by the government, of community support and NGO initiatives. An attempt to highlight gander differences in the impact and response to the cyclone is based again on actual experiences of women, both as victims and as relief workers.
This volume goes beyond a cry for sympathy. In the second section, leading economists, demographers, social scientists trace the development in different sectors over the last two decades, which have improved the chances of coping. Food price stability, communication infrastructure may suggest better chances of survival. More than this the success of experimental programmes such as Grameen Bank’s credit, BRAC’s non-formal education, primary health care are seen as dynamic interventions to alleviate poverty. Investment in human resource development is examined from the perspective of national and donor priorities.
From Crisis to Development presents a collection of incisive, analytical and thoughtful papers by a range of academics, NGO activists and policy planners which are likely to generate serious debate on development priorities which would focus on the imperatives of disaster preparedness, on the dynamics of people’s participation, and on the optimum and responsible utilization of aid. This volume is likely to be of significant use for policy planning and implementation.
“Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, offers great potential for development given the abundance of its natural resources including its fertile delta, natural gas reserves and an energetic people. Unfortunately, many outside observers have accepted the popular press preoccupation with floods and cyclones while overlooking the near miracles of Universal Child Immunization... Bangladesh has also contributed to the health and development of the world through the innovations of the Grameen Bank which provides craft to rural poor women based on “human collateral” and by discovering oral rehydration salts. From Crisis to Development is important because it highlights these positive trends.” - James P. Grant
“The descriptive and sometimes eye witness accounts of the different phases of the cyclone which hit the coast of Bangladesh in April 1991 are rich in human interest; but coping goes beyond such imagery to connect the impact of immediate disaster with long-term development issues. To recognize the links between development, disaster and survival is to recognize the challenges which lie ahead for Bangladesh. - Rehman Sobhan
“From Crisis to Development is both timely and important in reminding us that although Bangladesh was born out of human tragedy, much progress has been made. This book captures how ordinary people have coped with disasters and how development has progressed. Most important of all, it highlights the critical importance of human development through which the strength of people can be applied to address development, both long-term as well as acute crisis.” - Lincoln C. Chen