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Flood specialists in Bangladesh knew enough in advance about the current floods to predict which areas would be worst affected and to limit the damage, according to the Atiq Rahman head of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies in the capital Dhaka. He says greater political organisation was needed.

According to Vaidyanatha Subramanian, an Indian hydrogeochemist, poor land use planning also contributed to the floods' severity. He says the erosion of riverbanks by religious bathing and unregulated mining, and the obstruction of the flow of canals both contributed to the scale of the damage.

More rain is expected for the middle of August and Rahman predicts the next floods will be even worse.

Link to full news story in Nature

Reference: Nature 430, 596 (2004)