The devastation and destruction caused by the flood of 1998 was unprecedented in the history of this country. It continued for more than 65 days and affected 100,000 sq. km. areas and destroyed basic infrastructures like roads, bridges, houses, standing crops of the fields, killed birds, animal and cattle heads. The most damaging aspect of the flood was the destruction of people’s means of livelihood. Decades-long efforts, both government and non-government, in alleviating poverty were threatened.
The devastating flood of 1998 had important lessons for government and the NGOs. As soon as the flood reached disastrous proportion, BRAC began a massive relief operation for the marooned people to help them cope with the situation. To hold back the downsliding of its programme participants who lived in the flood affected villages into destitution, BRAC undertook a comprehensive programme to restore homesteads, rehabilitate agriculture, create employment, prevent epidemics of gastrointestinal diseases, provide nutritional support to pregnant women and children, and to bring life back to normal. To help plan a comprehensive need-based rehabilitation programme, BRAC’s Research and Evaluation Division undertook a number of studies during September-October 1998 to assess the loss and damage to assets of the programme participants, and also to understand community’s needs and perceptions in coping with the situation. The studies used both quantitative and qualitative methods and most of the core researchers of BRAC were involved in field operations. These reports are compiled in this single volume and I am sure it will prove to be of use to development practitioners, particularly those working on disaster mitigation.