Beating floods in Bangladesh

Flood resistant housing
Bangladesh (Dhaka)

Bangladesh is one of the most disaster prone areas in the world. Aside from its susceptibility to cyclones, it is situated in the Ganges Delta. Geographically this means that 80% of the country is in flood plains. Every year floods, wind and rain kills over 700 people, damages four million homes, and wipes out over a million hectares of crops.

An international NGO that uses low-cost, effective technology to challenge poverty in developing countries is supplying an innovative solution to this problem by providing weather adaptive houses. Instead of bamboo, Practical Action builds houses on foundations of sandy soil, concrete and brick strong enough survive repeated floods. Treated bamboo poles on a concrete ground are held together safely with metal rods to reinforce the walls against the elements, which are stitched tightly to the houses. Trees and water absorbent plants then help suck up excess flood water.

For every $1 Practical Action invests in the disaster-resilient homes, they save $3 in unnecessary damage. In a country where 31% of the population live below the poverty line, this type of intervention is essential to ensuring their future.

Written by

Claire Proudfoot (24 September 2015)


Claire Proudfoot is an international producer/ director based in London. The South African spends most of her time making content in sub-Saharan Africa about tech, healthcare and gender.

Project leader

Practical Action

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