Publication Date

1999

Abstract

In July of 1998, Bangladesh was in the grip of the worst flood of its history. It damaged a lot of assets all over the country. About two-thirds of the country was inundated, BRAC's micro-credit borrowers were affected seriously by the flood. They are normally in a vulnerable situation because of their poverty. This study assesses the impact of the flood of 1998 on BRAC's micro-credit borrowers. To determine the flood's effect, I selected two research questions: 1) What mechanism did the program participants use to cope with the 1998 flood and their micro-credit obligation needs after the 1998 flood? 2) What are the strategies of BRAC in the management of micro-credit after the flood of 1998? In this study, I have collected different information from one hundred flood affected borrowers. The borrowers were selected from the Bhuapur thana, which is under a northern district Tangail, 100 kilometers from the Capital City, Dhaka. In 1998, flood had a huge and devastating affect on Bangladesh that couldn't be measured accurately in figures. Out of 64 districts, 55 were inundated and almost 30 million people suffered. Obviously that also affected the BRAC micro-credit borrowers. The flood damaged their houses, assets, and businesses. The borrowers also had to migrate in search of safe shelter. They had to spend their business capital, household assets and/or savings to meet immediate livelihood requirements. Most of them had lost their previous employment and income opportunities due to damaged infrastructure, decreased purchasing power of the people, and reduced scale of agricultural activities. Some of the borrowers also lost their confidence to restart their businesses/project due to huge shock from the sudden damages. Although the damage was colossal but still people were trying to cope with this adverse situation through consumption's cut down, assets sold-out, peer group supports, formal and informal loans. Some of the borrowers started alternative income earning activities exploiting the flood conditions like fishing, ferrying, etc. To address the vulnerable situations of the borrowers, BRAC immediately started emergency relief activities. BRAC also made some policy decisions to reduce the sufferings of the borrowers and the revival of their income-generating activities. These decisions included the postponement of the collection of loan realization during flood period, and refinancing to the lone. It also started post flood rehabilitation programs such as house repairing assistance, distribution of seeds, fertilizer and poultry, etc. BRAC, as an NGO, initiated many interventions to help the flood-affected borrowers and other program participants, so that they can come out of vulnerable situation. There are still many probable interventions, strategies from the NGO sector and the Government to help flood-affected people. This will enable them to become effective and efficient management of their lives after the flood.

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