3 Mar 2022

Supporting Flood Forecast-Based Action and Learning in Bangladesh (SUFAL): Phase I and Phase II

The SUFAL project works with communities, government institutions and local disaster management committees to build existing capacity and support the implementation of community-focused forecast-based actions to mitigate the potential impacts of monsoon floods in Bangladesh’s northwest region. It focuses on integrating anticipatory action into Bangladesh’s national disaster-risk management framework by: (1) improving access to local impact-based forecasts and early warnings; (2) identifying thresholds and setting triggers for early action; (3) testing appropriate early actions that address the needs and priorities of vulnerable communities; and (4) generating evidence and lessons to influence policy, plans and financing for anticipatory action.

The project’s objective is to support communities and institutions to take forecast-based action to protect lives, assets and livelihoods from, and increase resilience to, the impacts of monsoon flooding in northwest Bangladesh.

Start/end date     

Phase 1: August 2019 – June 2021 

Phase 2: July 2021 – December 2022

Hazards covered    

Monsoon floods

Regions covered

Phase I: Jamalpur, Gaibandha and Kurigram districts, northern Bangladesh

Phase II: Gaibaindha and Kurigram districts, northern Bangladesh

Early action sectors     

Evacuation | Shelter | WASH | Livelihoods | Social protection (cash)

Anticipatory action protocols/plans in place    

Early Action Matrix for Flooding

Activations

2020 monsoon

Population reached during activation

During the 2020 monsoon, SUFAL supported 100,000 people with community-based early actions

Key actors / implementing partners  

Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Department of Disaster Management | Bangladesh Water Development Board, Flood Forecast and Warning Center | Inter-ministerial National Taskforce on FbF/FbA | Local disaster management committees 

Project description

The government of Bangladesh recently adopted its revised Standing Order on Disasters (SOD 2019), which includes a National Taskforce on Forecast-based Forecasting / Action (FbF/FbA). This is coordinated by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and the Department of Disaster Management, and is responsible for: (1) providing guidance on FbA-related strategies (e.g., risk, triggers) to coordinate FbF/FbA for various disasters; (2) the release of funds; and (3) preparing protocols and/or guidelines with roles and responsibilities.

To support the government in integrating the FbA approach, Phase II of the SUFAL project (SUFAL-II) will facilitate national-level discussions on triggers, protocols, early actions and financing mechanisms for monsoon flooding in the northwest region of Bangladesh. It will continue to work with the Flood Forecast and Warning Center to strengthen its capacity, focusing on the generation of localized forecasts and longer lead times. The project will also work with end-users to ensure the information they need for decision-making is made available in time.

An early action matrix, developed in SUFAL-I, will be shared, reviewed and refined in consultation with the National Taskforce, the Department of Disaster Management, the Flood Forecast and Warning Center, and other stakeholders. SUFAL II will test new early actions, expanding into the agriculture, livestock, WASH and health (e.g., water-borne diseases, COVID-19) sectors, while increasing its focus on developing the capacity of communities and the most vulnerable households to take early actions.

Financing mechanisms mapped out in the first phase will be linked to triggers in the standard operating procedures, early action protocols or the Early Action Matrix for Flooding (e.g., through the development of guidelines for district disaster management fund). In selected locations, a pilot with link forecast-based actions and social safety net programmes to test the possibility of supporting the most vulnerable households through existing social protection schemes and channels ahead of anticipated floods.

The SUFAL project is implemented by a consortium led by CARE, with Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief (phase I) and technical partner RIMES, and with financial support from ECHO. For more information, please contact: 

  • Sumaiya Kabir: Sumaiya.Kabir@care.org
  • Katrin von der Dellen: v.d.dellen@care.de

After receiving 4,500 Bangladeshi Taka from SUFAL, my family could immediately move to a relative’s house by hiring a boat.

Mariam Katun Cash grant recipient in Gaibanda district

Outcomes and lessons learned

SUFAL Phase I

  • Over 100,000 people supported with timely and localized early warning information and community-based early actions, implemented through local disaster management committees.
  • At the community level, shelter renovations encouraged communities to evacuate earlier. More households moved their livestock to cattle sheds, and cash for work schemes provided employment and the cash needed to protect livelihoods and assets, while maintaining communication.
  • According to a post-monsoon assessment of the 2020 floods, 58 per cent of respondents were financially able to take early actions, and 36 per cent of respondents needed partial support. Average savings per household were 19,161 Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) in household assets, 36,552 BDT in livestock, and 23,451 BDT in fisheries.
  • According to the evaluation report, 97 per cent of the 39,729 households in the targeted unions received early warning messages through community volunteers, loudspeaker announcements and individual information-dissemination processes in 2020. In addition, 8,800 individuals in disaster management committees and communities directly received regular flood forecasts, early warnings and advisories through voice messages. About 63-80 per cent of early-warning recipients took immediate early actions three to five days before the flood. Women were more responsive in terms of taking early actions and sharing early warnings.
  • The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre developed and adopted impact-based forecasts and vulnerability mapping, and generated 15-day outlooks for the flood in 2020.
  • Community-based early action plans and triggers for disaster management committees were produced for the 2020 monsoon and adopted for 2021.
  • The National Taskforce on FbF/FbA began joint advocacy efforts with Red Cross Red Crescent societies, United Nations agencies and the Start Network.

Contact

Sumaiya Kabir: Sumaiya.Kabir@care.org

Katrin von der Dellen: v.d.dellen@care.de