Climate refugee: Bhola would be lost within the 40 years

Published on: 18/11/2013

Bhola, the island district of Bangladesh, was of 6400 skm in area in 1960s. 3000
skm of it have been inundated in the last 40 years only. The renowned growth centres like Old Daulat Khan, Mirja Kalu, Molong Chora, Swarajganj, Choumuhony, Taju Miar Hat etc are totally submerged to the sea. Now also any one of the localities is being eroded. If this rate of erosion continues entire Bhola would be lost within the next 40 years.

Magnus Krantz coduct a field based research on `COASTAL EROSION ON THE ISLAND OF BHOLA, BANGLADESH ‘The results show that the erosion has been big, 68.4 meters/year or 4.3 km2 over 5 years. The accretion has been 20.9 km2 during the same period. The erosion occurs on the East Side of the Island of Bhola, and the accretion on the West Side and up in the north. This phenomenon depends on the current conditions around the island of Bhola. People living by the embankment have had to move between 2 to 4 times during a period of 20 to 30 years due to the erosion. Many of these people have been landless, and are now living illegal by the embankment in serfdom. some 500,000 people move to the capital, Dhaka, from coastal Island bhola.

In this regards environmental based rights group Demand for the rights of environmental refugee. UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, does not recognise climate or environment refugees, as they are not listed under the UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention. Now some experts suggest the Convention should be amended to allow for environmental displacement.see details

Climate Change to Determine Economic Growth – Inter Press News Service

A new World Bank report  entitled ‘Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided’, detailing how global warming could affect sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia shows “the likely impacts of present day two-degree and four-degree-Celsius warming on agricultural production, water resources, and coastal vulnerability for affected populations.” []

South Asia with a population expected to at 2.2b by 2050 is at a particularly high risk. Here is one example – ““With a temperature increase of two to 2.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, by the 2050s reduced water availability for agricultural production may result in more than 63 million people no longer being able to meet their caloric demand by production in the river basins (of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra),”.


Jamuna river erosion and impacts

It’s all about a story of river erosion. This story may or may not connect with climatic change but people believe it’s an after affect of melting of Himalayan Glacier. No matter this erosion factor connected with climate change or not (it’s a continuous debt) but people are suffering and that’s the only point I was trying to make. People of Sirajgonj district who are living just by the bank of Jamuna River, affected by the mighty river.
I tried to focus on the

South Asia in Search of Coordinated Climate Policy

KATHMANDU, May 16 2013 (IPS)
 – With a combined population of over 1.7 billion, which includes some of the world’s poorest but also a sizeable middle class with a growing spending capacity, South Asia is a policymaker’s nightmare. The region’s urban population is set to double by 2030, with India alone adding 90 million city dwellers to its metropolises since 2000. Over 75 percent of South Asia’s residents live in rural areas, with agriculture accounting for 60 percent of the labour force, according to recent statistics released by the World Bank.

South Asia has always been a climatic hot spot. According to Pramod Aggarwal, South Asia principal researcher and regional programme leader for agriculture and food security for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), over 70 percent of the region is prone to drought, 12 percent to floods and eight percent to cyclones.

“Climate stress has always been normal (here); climate change will make things worse,” he said. Experts like Aggarwal say that the region needs to collaborate on research, agriculture and importantly, water management to be better prepared for rapidly varying climate patterns –

At-risk countries need shared climate solutions – experts

Author: Pantho Rahaman

DHAKA, Bangladesh (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Climate-vulnerable countries should join forces to combat disaster risks by sharing information and seeking common solutions, experts at a community-based adaptation conference said this week.

“Countries, facing similar kinds of climatic hazards, could share their own experiences of risk and adaptation policy as an allied group to fight natural disasters together,” said Ainun Nishat, a leading Bangladeshi climate and water expert, at the Seventh International Community-Based Adaptation Conference, organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development.

Countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Maldives, which share similar coastal areas, for instance, might benefit by planning together to deal with hazards such as flooding and storms, the experts said.

“A joint strategy involving sharing of data, process and approach could be a viable move,” said Nishat.

In particular, South Asian nations could learn from Bangladesh’s adaptation policies, the experts said. The country has had significant success in reducing cyclone deaths using fortified storm shelters and early warning systems.

“Bangladesh can be the role model for adaptation methods because lessons have been learned and applied here,” said Robert Juhkam, deputy country head for the U.N. Development Programme in Bangladesh.

What he called the country’s “own unique” adaptation methods “have delivered results,” he said.

Nishat agreed that “if cyclone centre establishments or early alert systems are the priorities, then this country can provide the best examples.”

Negussie Kefeni, an Ethiopian speaker at the conference, noted that both coastal and inland communities are at risk of climate impacts in many countries, and that all countries needed to act.

“As climate change impact reaches all nations, every country should make their contribution to save our world,” he said.


Quick decision-making processes, supported by political will, are crucial elements for a sustainable adaptation policy, the experts said.

Laura Bill, a UNICEF representative, said adaptation is an ongoing natural process for most coastal people. She underscored the need to focus on a range of needs of climate-affected people.

Bangladesh Minister for Environment and Forest, Hasan Mahmud, said both governments and non-governmental organizations need to be part of planning, as both respond during natural calamities. But affected people, most importantly, need to be consulted, he said.

Among Bangladesh’s policies for dealing with coastal emergencies is the Fruits, Fish and Forest policy, under which the government has offered more than 100 hectares of unused coastal land to rehabilitate 1,000 families hit by coastal disasters, Juhkam said.

“This policy helps restructure nature and provide victims with financial support,” he said.

Many participants in the conference underlined the need to engage local communities in disaster-reduction efforts and create links with local as well as central governments.

Nishat suggested that while it’s vital to consult communities that face natural disasters before making a plan to deal with such dangers, special caution should be applied so that traditional practices are not sacrificed.

Experts pointed out that in trying to develop adaptation plans, Bangladesh did not wait for foreign aid but created its own fund of $350 million for adaptation.

Pantho Rahaman is a senior journalist based in Dhaka.