Recently Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a non-governmental research organisation, arranged a programme in the BRAC Centre in the capital under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on “Building resilience to natural disaster and major economic crisis.” In this programme it came to light that Bangladesh is at the highest risk of natural disasters than other Asian countries. Risk of calamities is undoubtedly related to climate greatly and climate change is related to world economy.
So the people of Bangladesh who live in coastal areas suffer more greatly than the other countries that are at the risk of natural calamities. People face great economic losses frequently and infrastructures are destroyed. As a result of climate change sea level is rising and of the 21 cities at the highest risk, Dhaka is one. Some 1.30 billion people have fallen at the risk of natural disasters only because of the ice melting of the Himalayas. Specialists apprehended that tens of millions of people would be refugees due to natural disasters.
As a result of natural change great crisis may happen to agriculture. Some 100 million people who lead sub-standard life might starve for a long time. Asia and Africa will face a great crisis for want of food. The staple food of these regions is rice and rice cultivation will be difficult because of global warming. Researchers say that people may change their food habit for recovery from this problem. People might depend on pop corn or millet which can be grown in warm weather. It is very difficult to change food habit. Cultivable land is lessened and floods and cyclones have increased in Bangladesh for climate change. Its influence falls on agriculture, fishery, and wildlife directly. M Asaduzzaman, Director (Research), Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) said, “Climate change should be a subject matter for development plan and infrastructure. If development is hampered, economic prosperity is not possible.” Bangladesh has one of the largest sea coasts in the world. We can stop the rise of the sea partly by planting trees in the sea coast. River water flow should be ensured. If we can do so, we shall be able to protect ourselves from natural disasters. We should be careful about our rivers as they can flow without any obstacle.
The life of the people of AILA and SIDR-affected areas is not still normal. They are at health risk. Their anti-body has been lessened. So they are suffering from many diseases. In 11 districts of the south-west region of the country, some 150 million people live with salty water. Here shortage of pure water is a common scene. Sundori, kaoda and many other trees are dying as salty water has increased in the Sundarbans. Wild animals are abrogating. Flood will occur frequently in the coming days and the amount of destruction will increase. The flood of 2007 was devastating. As a result 0.5 million people had to leave their house and took shelter in safe places. The fear of such type of flood is still there. After all, the lower southern part of the country may go under water. Salimul Haque, Director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCD) said, “In case of natural calamity Bangladesh is in a risk and she is also tolerable. We have to face natural calamity in local ways.” Nazrul Islam, a city specialist, said, “My grandfather had to leave his own house three times for natural calamity. He lost his land. But his four sons took higher education. It is his investment, it is his capability to face natural calamity.”
A report was published about natural calamities of Bangladesh, where disasters of natural calamities from 1998 to recent years were mentioned. It was estimated there that assets worth 4.30 billion dollars were destroyed in the flood of 1998, those worth 240 million dollars were ruined in SIDR of 2007 and those worth 270 million dollar were damaged in AILA of 2009.
The writer is Editor, Weekly Bornapat. E-mail: email@example.com
Risk of natural calamities and economic crisis