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Accordingly, the myth about deforestation creating big floods and the habit of blaming mountain dwellers for the flood catastrophes must be abandoned. However, this does not relieve the mountain inhabitants of their responsibility to use and manage the environment sustainably.
Whereas politicians and engineers perceive monsoon floods as the main problem for Bangladesh, the flood affected people are more concerned - besides the devastating tropical cyclones - with lateral river erosion, landlessness and economic survival problems.
Thomas Hofer is a mountain expert in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. Bruno Messerli is professor emeritus and former Director Institute of Geography and Rector University of Bern.
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