DG ECHO team visits BWDB office in Dhaka to discuss flood forecast-based action in Bangladesh

Ms. Andrea Koulaimah, Director of the Department for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) along with the ECHO team in Bangladesh visited the Bangladesh Water Development Board Office (BWDB) in Dhaka to discuss the existing collaboration with the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC), BWDB through the SUFAL II program and future plans to strengthen the flood forecast-based action approach in Bangladesh.

Ms. Christine Lamarque, Desk Officer for ECHO Bangladesh, Ms. Anna Orlandini, Head of Office - Bangladesh and Mr. Mukit Billah, Programme Officer, along with representatives from CARE Bangladesh, Concern Worldwide and RIMES participated in the discussions. Reflecting on the success of the first phase, the DG ECHO Director appreciated how the project has collaborated with the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre and the local government in reducing the impact of the floods on communities, making early warning messages more accessible to the communities and improving the effectiveness of emergency flood preparedness.

"With changing climate, impacts are increasing; it is now more important to enhance forecast information which needs joint cooperation," she said.

Ms. Andrea Koulaimah acknowledged the strong institutional network between the operational flood forecasting organization of Bangladesh - FFWC and the SUFAL project. She hoped this collaboration would continue in future and strengthen the flood early warning system for building resilience of the local population. She also emphasized the need for enhancing regional cooperation and alliance for transboundary data sharing. They also visited the RIMES-FFWC Joint Research Office and the data center for observing the operations of FFWC.

Since 2022, RIMES has been providing technical support to FFWC to generate one-month probabilistic river flow outlook for Brahmaputra River basin which serves the strategic decision-making at the national, district and upazila levels in readiness for early action.

The Directorate-General for European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) funded project - ‘Supporting flood Forecast-based Action and Learning’ (SUFAL) was implemented in the flood prone areas of Kurigram, Gaibandha and Jamalpur in Bangladesh from July 2019 to June 2021 through a consortium led by CARE Bangladesh with Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief and RIMES.

Building upon the learning of the first phase, RIMES in collaboration with Flood forecasting & Warning center (FFWC) of BWDB is implementing the second phase of the project “Scaling up Flood Forecast-based Action and Learning in Bangladesh- (SUFAL II)” in Kurigram, Jamalpur, Gaibandha and Bogura along with CARE Bangladesh and Concern Worldwide.

The program focuses on building capacities of institutions and communities to reduce the impact of floods on communities, improve effectiveness of emergency preparedness, response and recovery efforts, and reduce the humanitarian burden through strengthening the Forecast-based Early Action (FbA) approach to monsoon floods in the Brahmaputra-Jamuna basin area.

Through the program intervention, Impact-based forecasting has been introduced to the operational system of Flood Forecasting and Warning Center of BWDB, with the assistance from RIMES. RIMES has been providing technical support to FFWC to obtain and use granular level vulnerable area mapping to forecast floods and generate Early Warning Matrix (EWM).

"Through this joint venture, it has been demonstrated that it is possible to reach the end users with forecast and early warning messages in a timely and comprehensible manner. I am hopeful that the continuation of such activities will improve the resiliency in even the most remote areas of the country and promote the overall growth and development of our nation.", said Engr. Mohammad Mizanur Rahman, Additional Director General (west region) of the BWDB.