Climate change is expected to impact Bangladesh severely. River flooding currently affects 9.5 million people annually in South Asia and is projected to increase to 15 million people by 2030, according to the World Resources Institute. Those living in the coastal areas of Bangladesh are hit especially hard by disasters, such as cyclones, flash floods, erratic rainfall and salinity intrusion. Sea levels near Dhaka could rise 30 centimeters by 2040 and exceed 100 cm by 2100.

Bangladesh has about 100 islands in the Bay of Bengal and a cluster of big rivers. Every three years or so, cyclones increase water levels, causing flooding and becoming a huge threat to lives and properties. “The only way to solve this problem is to increase the height of the embankments and strengthen them. It is a very expensive and time-consuming proposition which requires—before any work [is] started—full study, including modeling, detailed studies,” Ashish Tendon, managing director at Egis India, told ENR. Egis India is a subsidiary of Egis, a major French engineering firm.

Egis has worked with local authorities in the past. Tandon explains, “There aren’t enough resources in the country. … Around $2 billion euros would need to be invested. … Bangladesh should think of staggering investment for a period of around 15-20 years for the entire project, instead of a short-term [investment] of around four to five years.”