Flood Exposure and Child Health in Bangladesh
Alison M. Buttenheim, University of California, Los Angeles
In the summer of 1998, Bangladesh was inundated by significant flooding that covered two-thirds of the country and affected more than 30 million people. Although annual flooding is normal and expected in Bangladesh, the 1998 floods caused extraordinary devastation and were considered a “century” flood. Homestead flooding, crop loss and infrastructure damage all compromised food security in rural areas. In this paper I use longitudinal data from the post-flood period in rural Bangladesh to examine how children’s health and nutritional status responded to the severe flooding. I ask whether 1998 flood exposure caused growth faltering among children, or if 1998 flood exposure and growth faltering are both manifestations of more chronic household vulnerability. Future work will extend this analysis to other welfare measures including household food security and disease prevalence, and to the use of specific coping strategies.