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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jan 22;12(2):1196-215. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120201196.

Trends in water level and flooding in Dhaka, Bangladesh and their impact on mortality.

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Meteorological Institute, University Bonn, Auf dem Huegel 20, D-53121 Bonn, Germany.
Climatology Laboratory, Geography Institute, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, D-10099 Berlin, Germany.
Meteorological Institute, University Bonn, Auf dem Huegel 20, D-53121 Bonn, Germany.


Climate change is expected to impact flooding in many highly populated coastal regions, including Dhaka (Bangladesh), which is currently among the fastest growing cities in the world. In the past, high mortality counts have been associated with extreme flood events. We first analyzed daily water levels of the past 100 years in order to detect potential shifts in extremes. A distributed lag non-linear model was then used to examine the connection between water levels and mortality. Results indicate that for the period of 2003-2007, which entails two major flood events in 2004 and 2007, high water levels do not lead to a significant increase in relative mortality, which indicates a good level of adaptation and capacity to cope with flooding. However, following low water levels, an increase in mortality could be found. As our trend analysis of past water levels shows that minimum water levels have decreased during the past 100 years, action should be taken to ensure that the exposed population is also well-adapted to drought.

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