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Diaspora of Coastal Bengal ---Effect of Climate Change

AMLAN BISWAS | West Bengal, India

Shrimp catching during high tide on sea by women---once they were purely housewife of farmer in village.Climate change has changed their life style

West Bengal is one of the most climatically vulnerable states of India —with a history of a high number of severe cyclones in the Bay of Bengal coast, severe thunderstorms, a high sea-level rise and projected flood risk. These observations were pointed out in India’s first official climate assessment report.

The Bay of Bengal region was struck by the highest number of cyclones in May and November according to the long-term analysis between 1891 and 2018, revealed the report/assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region.It was released by the Ministry of Earth Sciences recently.

The report also mentioned a significant eastward shift in tropical cyclone genesis locations in the Bay of Bengal region during post-monsoon seasons, which may enhance the risk for the coastal regions of West Bengal.

During 2009-20, West Bengal coast witnessed landfalls of three extremely severe cyclones —Cyclone Aila, Cyclone Bulbul and Cyclone Amphan.In an average life span of nearly 70 years...the people of this region has lost their house,agricultural land,profession and last but not the least....several lives.

 

From changes in our coastal systems, impact on marine life and how it trickles down to our farming andfishingcommunities, to local initiatives and on-ground support, a range of issues were brought to the fore. While over 80% of the world’s top cities developed along coastlines and waterways, over the next few years, countries like India and China will be the worst affected by climate change extremities. Switching to hybrid and solar power is the only way forward. And as a World Bank report suggests (Turn Down the Heat, 2013), sea-level rise has been occurring more rapidly than projected and a rise of as much as 50 cm by the 2050s may be unavoidable due to past emissions.

It’s no doubt that our coasts are the worst affected, but climate change poses a particular threat to urban residents and is expected to further drive urbanization, ultimately placing more people at risk. The report highlights how, in coastal cities, large populations and assets are exposed to climate change risks including increased tropical storm intensity, long-term sea-level rise, and sudden onset of coastal flooding. What our communities need now is development that is climate-proof: adaptation measures that are embedded in local cultures and cost-effective solutions rooted in nature.

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