Launch Disasters in Bangladesh: A Geographical Study
Huq, Naznin Afrose, and Dewan, Ashraf Mahmmood, (2003) Launch Disasters in Bangladesh: A Geographical Study. Geografia Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 1 (2). pp. 14-25. ISSN 0126-7000
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Official URL: http://www.eoc.ukm.my/geografia/Artikel/Artikel-2003/Vol.%201%20Issue%202%20-%20Naznin.pdf
University of Dhaka
University of Dhaka
Bangladesh is a riverine country and communication by waterways is of great importance especially in the southern region of the country. Navigable inland waterways total approximately 5,968 km in length in rainy seasons, and decrease to 3,600 km in dry seasons. The combined waters of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra-Jamuna meet the Meghna 16 km south of Shaitnol. At the confluence the lower Meghna is 11 km wide in rainy season making it one of the largest rivers in the world. From Chandpur southwards, waterway is the only means of transport and so a large number of people has to travel by motor launches in the coastal areas and inland. Since the early 1950’s, motor launch services have become popular and in the period 1997-98 there were 1,853 registered launches operating in 227 routes. The passenger service is operated both by public and private sector organizations. There are 536 private sector operators in the passenger service. In 1997-98 inland waterways carried 87.8 million passengers i.e. 17 percent of the total share of all modes. But this important mode is ridden with tragic disasters every year, incurring a heavy toll of human lives. Since 1977, there were 248 motor launch accidents recorded by BIWTA (Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority) with a loss of 2,309 lives, 374 persons injured and 208 persons missing. This paper attempts to roughly trace out the causes and the geographical distribution of the accidents through an analysis of a time series data covering the period between 1977 and 2000.
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