Climate change in Bangladesh has displaced hundreds of people

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Azad Majumder I

Dhaka, 20 September (EFE) — Fisherman Mohammad Hanif is one of hundreds of thousands of people who are forced to leave their homes every year due to the effects of climate change in Bangladesh, internally displaced people punished by exposure to accelerated erosion, cyclones or the salinity of river waters.

Haniz, 62, was only ten months old when he was forced to leave his home with his family when the Meghna River in southern Bangladesh tumbled. Since then, he has lost his home three times due to a series of meteorological disasters.

A man repairs the wheels of his car in Bangladesh. EFE/EPA/MONIRUL ALAM

Experts attribute these and other factors, such as accelerated erosion or increased salinity, to global warming, which particularly affects Bangladesh, one of the countries most vulnerable to rising temperatures on the planet.

Lost battle with the waters

The waters of Meghna destroyed the home of Hanif, who was forced to stay near the estuary in the southern district of Bhola due to his work as a fisherman, three times, but the real setback came in the devastating 2007 Sidr cyclone, which killed nearly 3,500 people. west coast of Bangladesh.

The fisherman was in his boat at the mouth of the Meghna with eleven other people, including three of his brothers, when he received the warning of the Sidr’s arrival.

Hanif could have abandoned his gear and fled to the nearest island, but he and the other fishermen risked their lives trying to save the net, but to no avail.

“In those years, fish became scarce. I had to repay debts, and a year and a half after the cyclone, I had to flee from creditors to Dhaka, ”he explained to Efe from the capital’s slum town of Kalyanpur.

Displaced due to climate change in Bangladesh

Nearly 10,000 people live in the slums and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Face of Climate Change Jan Fry is due to visit on Wednesday as part of his first official trip abroad since his appointment.

“The people of Bangladesh continue to bear the enormous economic and social cost of the impacts of climate change. Studies show that globally, the costs associated with loss and damage caused by climate change impacts will increase annually by 2030 to $290,000 million (€290,000 million) and $580,000 million,” he said. .

According to the non-profit development organization BRAC, which implements the Kalyanpur development program, 21% of its residents arrived in the capital after being displaced by weather-related natural disasters and came from riverine areas in the southwest.

Aisha Bibi, who works as a plastic waste collector, came to the slum about 30 years ago with her seven younger sisters after their entire village collapsed due to erosion, she told Efe.

“We will never be able to return to our village because it is no more, we don’t even know what happened to our neighbors,” he explained.

Particularly vulnerable country

According to a World Bank report published in 2018, Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, and the number of people displaced by rising temperatures in this Asian country could even reach 13.3 million by 2050.

Between 2008 and 2021, an average of 1.1 million Bangladeshis fled their homes each year due to natural disasters, according to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), although the vast majority of them were able to return, and such years, as of 2020, there were 4.4 million affected, especially by the cyclone.

Several children on the street in Bangladesh. EFE/EPA/MONIRUL ALAM

Accelerated erosion in river areas is one of the most important causes of these internal movements, followed by an increase in salinity in some areas or a rise in sea levels.

“Scientific studies show that in the future, for climate-related reasons, millions of people will lose their homes and move to other places,” Salimul Huq of the International Institute for Development and the Environment told Efe.

Khondoker Moqaddam Hossain, professor at the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Research at the University of Dhaka, said the effects of climate change are exacerbating extreme weather events, “causing more and more natural disasters.”

“The frequency and intensity of natural disasters are increasing due to climate change, and as a result, many people have been forced to leave their homes,” he explained.

Hossain pointed to recent floods in the Sylhet region that affected four million people in June.

“Record rainfall levels in India’s highlands have caused devastating floods in the northeast this year. Now between July and August we are seeing the least rainfall in 42 years,” he said.

Online edition of Rocío Casas

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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