Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) supports its member countries to develop their capabilities in generating forecast and risk informed early warning and tailor-made applications at different time scales (1-15 days, monthly, seasonal etc.). In Bangladesh RIMES provided technical support to the Flood Forecasting Warning Center (FFWC) of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) to develop and operationalize the 1-10 days probabilistic flood forecasting system. As part of RIMES commitment, the technical support to BWDB was continued beyond the project period to ensure that the system is operational during monsoon season. In addition to 10 days flood forecasting system, a Flash Flood Guidance System was also developed by RIMES for Sylhet and Cox’s Bazar region. Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) also gets regular technical support from RIMES for enhancing their numerical weather prediction system, conducting user forums and agro-meteorological advisory services. Through different innovative decision support systems, community-oriented capacity building programs to transform and tailor the forecast products to more sector oriented actionable format; RIMES has been working relentlessly to connect the science, institutions and society to reach the last mile of the end-users.
Strengthening Household Ability to Respond to Development Opportunities (SHOUHARDO) III program of CARE Bangladesh works with poor rural beneficiaries from 8 districts of the char and haor regions of Bangladesh. These beneficiaries are highly dependent on agriculture and livestock for their livelihood. By repeatedly being exposed to natural hazards, these communities do not have the capacity to buffer against the impacts of climate risk through their own assets which makes them the most vulnerable to disasters. The SHOUHARDO III sites and the nature of beneficiaries makes it an ideal program for piloting the application of weather and flood forecast information. To overcome the underlying risks of climate variability and furnish better agricultural/livestock production and disaster risk reduction, RIMES has implemented the project “Improved Weather and Flood Information System for Community Based Risk and Resource Management” under SHOUHARDO III program of CARE Bangladesh, supported by USAID and with complementary support from the Government of Bangladesh. Aiming towards the transition of ‘what the weather will be’ to ‘what the weather will do’; the project has made an effort to enable risk and resource management in poor and extreme poor communities by providing community focused and multi-sectoral action oriented forecast information that will enhance their resilience and eventually reduce livelihood risk. The project period was from July, 2019 to September, 2020.
For the past few decades, Bangladesh has shown significant progress in forecasting of flood, weather and other weather induced hazards. However, these forecasts rarely reach the at-risk communities with enough lead time to take any early action. Even if this information reaches the end-users, sometimes are difficult to interpret at the community level due to lack of capacity. So, it is crucial to improve lead time of the forecasts as well as interpret these forecasts into understandable and actionable advisories.