Climate change adaptation through grassroots responses: learning from the "Aila" affected coastal settlement of Gabura, Bangladesh

A. F. M. Ashraful Alam*, Rumana Asad, Afroza Parvin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The southwestern coastal region of Bangladesh has faced thirty large-and moderate-scale natural disasters since the last two decades. Aila, the extreme disaster event, has unveiled major shortfall in the approach of conventional disaster preparedness. Gap between planned intervention and the way coastal inhabitants respond to climatic exposures has widened due to lack of understanding of the grassroots risk perception and effectiveness of associated responses from them. The research examines locally adopted measures taken for disaster risk mitigation in the coastal settlements of Gabura, Bangladesh, and recommends future directions for climate change adaptation. As grassroots responses, firstly, the age-old spontaneous coping mechanisms of the individual households with particular emphasis on their baseline vulnerability were explored. Secondly, the nonphysical and physical responses before, during, and after disaster were categorized. Finally, with a strength and weakness matrix, the effectiveness and limitations of grassroots responses related to typical exposures and extremes were pinpointed. The study concludes that grassroots responses are mostly effective as adaptive measures during typical hazards; however, they have limitations in extreme events. Most importantly, adequate recognition of grassroots responses will not only inform better adaptation but also contribute to broader regional development planning and climate change policy context.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of climate change adaptation
EditorsWalter Leal Filho
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783642386701
ISBN (Print)9783642386695
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • baseline vulnerability
  • climate change adaptation
  • coastal settlements
  • grassroots responses


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