Bangladesh has the single most deadly tornado on record to date in the world, killing about 1,300 people in 1989. Many tornados have killed over 500 and 600 people in recorded history. With its dense population, poor government, as well as its proximity to the Himalayan Mountains and the Indian Ocean, Bangladesh has perhaps the highest concentration of deadly severe weather in the world. A combination of poor building construction practices, lack of awareness, and lack of sufficient warning systems leaves people vulnerable to even very weak tornados and straight-line wind events.
On top of this, Bangladesh is very vulnerable to large monsoon flooding events, cyclones, and tsunamis. Fortunately, warning systems are being developed for coastal areas especially prone to cyclones and tsunamis.
I hear respected meteorologists saying that a 4-year meteorology degree alone is becoming less and less sufficient for landing such a job in the United States. In the mean time, a straight-line wind event killed 41 people earlier this month in Bangladesh. There is an over-abundance of meteorologists in our own resource-rich country, and there is a striking under-abundance of them in Bangladesh.
Some work is beginning to be done toward mitigating Bangladesh’s high tornado death tolls. For instance, in 2013, storm-chaser Scott Olson spent time operating a mobile mesonet and chasing storms in Bangladesh to better understand the situation. Notably, NWS meteorologist Jonathan D. Finch has studied the climatology surrounding Bangladeshi tornados.
Public awareness, better construction practices, the installation of community shelters, spotter networks, public warning systems, and a customized damage rating system are all needed in Banglaedsh. Perhaps some of today’s newest weather enthusiasts will one day aid in mitigating tornado injuries and deaths in Bangladesh.
Does anybody know of any NGO’s currently operating specifically to address these issues in Bangladesh?