Around 51.9 million people in Bangladesh are exposed to flood risks, according to the World Bank's research.
The country ranks fifth in absolute population exposure to an inundation depth of 15 centimeters or more in the event of a "1-in-100-year flood."
The 1-in-100-year flood refers to a flood height that has a long-term likelihood of occurring once every 100 years.
The research paper titled "People in Harm's Way: Flood Exposure and Poverty in 189 Countries," prepared by Jun Erik Rentschler and Melda Salhab, found that around 2.2 billion people in the world are exposed to some level of flood risks.
Meanwhile, 1.47 million people – 19% of the world's population – are estimated to experience significant levels of fluvial, pluvial or coastal flood risks.
Two other South Asian countries stand second and fourth regarding people at risk of exposure to floods – India with 255.3 million and Pakistan with 71.8 million, according to the research.
China tops the table with 329.3 million of its people exposed to flood risks, while Indonesia ranks third with 76 million at such risk. Thus, the majority of people exposed to flood risks, 1.36 billion, are from South and East Asian countries.
Moreover, 89% of total risk-exposed people live in low- and middle-income countries. A total 132 million people live in both extreme poverty and high flood risk areas.
The World Bank study also estimated the countries' relative exposure to flood risks according to the share of total national population that is exposed to significant flood risk.
The Netherlands has the world's highest relative exposure to flood risks – with 58.1% of its population vulnerable to inundation of over 15 centimeters. It is followed by Vietnam at 45.8% and Guyana at 40.9%.
In the ranking, Bangladesh stands in 10th position with 31.6% of its people at risk of experiencing floods.
The study highlighted that Bangladesh and Vietnam are the only two countries that appear in both the absolute and relative exposure rankings.
The recent 2020 floods in Bangladesh affected 33 districts – which covered more than 19,000 square kilometers. Some 42 people died, while the number of affected people was more than 4.3 million.
Moreover, 1.3 million households were affected by the floods, according to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
The ministry estimated that floods in Bangladesh so far this year have caused damage worth Tk5,937 crore.
When contacted, mentioning Delta Plan 2100, Ainun Nishat, professor emeritus of BRAC University and water resource and climate change specialist, told The Business Standard, "Bangladesh and the Netherlands are at the top in flood preparedness among the vulnerable countries.
The government has sufficient policies to reduce flood damage. But, there are still some issues over management."