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Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

Probal Rashid | Bangladesh

A flood affected woman on a raft searches for somewhere dry to take shelter.

Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The regular and severe natural hazards that Bangladesh already suffers from – tropical cyclones, river erosion, flood, landslides and drought – are all set to increase in intensity and frequency as a result of climate change. Sea level rise will increasingly inundate coastal land in Bangladesh and dramatic coastal and river erosion will destroy lands and homes. These and the many other adverse effects of climate change will severely impact the economy and development of the country.

One of the most dramatic impacts will be the forced movement of people throughout Bangladesh as a result of losing their homes, lands, property and livelihoods to the effects of climate change. While it is impossible to predict completely accurate figures of how many people will be displaced by climate change, the best current estimates state that sea level rise alone will displace 18 million Bangladeshis within the next 40 years.

The idea of photographing climatic change came about when I visited Satkhira, in the Southern Division of Bangladesh; to cover the flood affected areas, in 2011. Villagers in this area, have been suffering one disaster after another, since 2007, when the cyclone SIDR attacked. Every year they have to live in rehabilitation camps or temporarily built houses for 4 to 5 months during the monsoon. Then I visited the area again in 2012 and started to realize that there was a real urgency to make a documentary on climate.

The only prospect one can expect to witness in this rural area is the presence of never-ending miles of dead lands, robbed of their fertility. Some regions are always waterlogged. There is water everywhere, but not a drop to drink! The most severe times are the summers and winters, when rainfall is minimum. Preserving some rainwater is lucky, otherwise they have to travel long distances to acquire pure drinking water. This new age has proved to be difficult for the farmers because farming is not possible; the agrarian nature of the indigenous people has rapidly faded like the dying lands. With nothing to feed their children, the people have picked up shrimp and crab farming. The international market for this is enormous and the people were quick enough to shift their priorities.

The devastating natural disasters combined with the lack of an adequate government safety net—compound the population’s poverty and drive young women towards child marriage. Fifteen years old Rani Begum who is a mother of one daughter, was married at the age of 12.

I think my work is not only to describe the present but also warn us of future problems before it's too late—this project casts its gaze on the ravaging effects that rising sea levels will have on the world's coastal inhabitants.

Probal Rashid

Phone: +8801712 162135

Email: probalrashid@gmail.com

Web: http://probalrashid.com/

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