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Role of Microfinance Tools in Disaster Risk Reduction: A Study in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
This paper presents survey findings from 2368 members in 500 households that were disaster victims, and 23 focus group discussions which took place in five districts in Bangladesh in June, and October, 2008. This study finds disasters to have some common negative effects on households as well as not all that declining trends as perceived generally. The research tentatively suggests, poor households under stressful conditions, either during or post-disaster situations mainly rely on themselves, and on community coping mechanism than to any public or private assistance. Both government and microfinance institutions provide little support to the people prepare for the onslaughts, or rehabilitation needs of the disaster victims. Poor community people, under circumstances, tend to increase their levels of borrowing, but as MFIs don’t offer any product for the disaster victims, people heavily depend on their savings, or local moneylenders. Number of cases of decline has been outnumbered by not so negative effect featured prominently in this study, supported both by the quantitative as well as qualitative survey. Loss or damage of assets, illness, and adverse dependency ratios in families were all seen as important causes of decline in a large number of households and draw attention to the need for a better understanding of lifecycle-related pressures on poor households during or after a disaster hits. Improvements in managing disaster risks tended to be related to experience of fighting disasters with preventative measures. Improvements are seen generally gradual, whereas distresses were seen to be caused by the type of events which are either slow and regular or sudden. These findings suggest that policy interventions aimed at preventing deluge losses and supporting improvement should take into account the changing risk profile facing disaster-porn poor people in Bangladesh.