Dhaka, Sep 20 (EFE).- Fisherman Mohammad Hanif is one of hundreds of thousands of people who are forced to leave their homes each year due to the effects of climate change in Bangladesh, internally displaced people from the countries punished by the impact of accelerating erosion, cyclones or the salinity of river waters.
Haniz, 62, was just ten months old when he was forced to flee his home with his family as the Meghna River in southern Bangladesh surged. Since then, he has lost his home three times due to a series of weather disasters.
Experts link these and other factors, such as accelerated erosion or increased salinity, to global warming, which particularly affects Bangladesh, being one of the countries most vulnerable to rising temperatures on the planet.
A lost battle against the waters
The waters of the Meghna three times destroyed the house of Hanif, forced by his work as a fisherman to stay near the mouth in the southern district of Bhola, but the real setback came with the devastating cyclone Sidr of 2007, which killed nearly 3,500 people. the west coast of Bangladesh.
The fisherman was in his boat in the Meghna estuary with eleven other people, including three of his brothers, when he received the alert of Sidr’s arrival.
Hanif could have abandoned his gear and fled to a nearby island, but he and the other fishermen risked their lives trying to save the net, to no avail.
“During these years, fish became scarce. I had to pay my debts, and a year and a half after the cyclone I had to flee my creditors to Dacca,” he told Efe from the capital’s Kalyanpur slum.
Displaced by climate change in Bangladesh
The slum is home to nearly 10,000 people and UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights in the face of climate change, Ian Fry, is due to visit on Wednesday on his first official trip abroad since his appointment.
“The people of Bangladesh continue to bear a huge economic and social cost from the impact of climate change. Studies indicate that, worldwide, the cost of loss and damage caused by the impact of climate change will increase by 2030 each year to reach between 290,000 million dollars (290,000 million euros) and 580,000 million dollars,” said the expert in a press release. .
According to the non-profit development organization BRAC, which runs a development program in Kalyanpur, 21% of its residents arrived in the capital after being displaced by climate-related natural disasters and come from river districts in the south. west.
Ayesha Bibi, who works as a plastic waste collector, arrived in the slum some 30 years ago with her seven younger sisters after their entire village collapsed due to erosion, she said in Efe.
“We can never go back to our village because it no longer exists, we don’t even know what happened to our neighbours,” he explained.
A particularly vulnerable country
Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, and the number of people displaced by rising temperatures in the Asian country could even reach 13.3 million by 2050, according to a published World Bank report. in 2018. .
According to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitor (IDMC), between 2008 and 2021, an average of 1.1 million Bangladeshis have left their homes due to natural disasters each year, although the vast majority have been able to return, with years like 2020 in the people affected, especially by a cyclone, were 4.4 million.
Accelerated erosion in river areas is one of the main reasons for these internal displacements, followed by increased salinity in some areas or sea level rise.
“Scientific research suggests that in the future, due to climate-related causes, millions of people will lose their homes and move away,” Efe Saleemul Huq, of the International Institute for Development and Environment, told Efe Saleemul Huq. .
Khondoker Mokaddam Hossain, a professor at the University of Dhaka’s Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies, 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 many people have been forced to flee their homes,” he said.
Hossain highlighted recent flooding in the Sylhet region, which in June affected four million people.
“Record levels of rainfall at higher elevations in India 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. to remark.
Written by Azad Majumder