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Stuart Matthews | In Search of Hope: Climate Displacement in Bangladesh

SHIKARIBARI, KOYRA, BANGLADESH – July 2011. Woman walks along the Shikaribari embankment, which has allowed the climate displaced people to return to their land after they were uprooted by Cyclone Aila.

Located in the corner of southern Asia, bordering between India and Burma. The people of Bangladesh bear witness to the continued destruction that climate change is having on their densely populated country every day. Communities in this poverty stricken, low-lying country have experienced the destruction of two Cyclones in the last five years, this region is prone to severe flooding from glacier melting from the Himalayas coupled with seasonal Monsoon rains. Each year thousands of people are uprooted and forced to take refuge in makeshift shelters along the embankments throughout the country as they seek to escape the wrath of Mother Nature.

With the Kyoto agreement reaching its expiration date at the end of 2012 and with global leaders yet to extend the agreement, the future for combatting Climate Change remains unknown. What does remain clear is that communities living on the frontline of Climate Change will continue suffer as the world’s climate becomes even more unpredictable, with rainfall becoming more intense and droughts becoming more extreme. Climate displacement is not a problem for 2030, 2040 or 2050. It is a problem now and one that needs to be addressed with decisive action being taken to provide a solution to these extreme shifts in climate that we all face.

SHIKARIBARI, KOYRA, BANGLADESH – November 2009. 1,300 Workers are building a 9,500ft Ring Dam, which will cross 3 canals and create a barrieragainst the rising floods in the Monsoon season.

SHIKARIBARI, KOYRA, BANGLADESH – July 2011. Locally employed workers unload building supplies that have been brought by boat from Barisal district. International NGO’s have provided 90,000 household grants to rebuild the homes that were destroyed in 2009.

SHIKARIBARI, KOYRA, BANGLADESH – July 2011. Shikaribari residents make their way to the mosque for the Dhuhr prayer. The girl sits on the wall waiting for her father, she cannot enter as the mosque is only for male worshipers, the women tend to prayin their homes.

TENGRAKANDI, BANGLADESH – August 2011. Ansar Ali (65) stands on the embankment of the Jamuna, he has migrated further inland to theParul flood shelter to escape the erosion. He is currently constructing a 1 room home where he will live with his wife and their 8 children.

DAKKIN PATIL BARI, BANGLADESH – August 2011. Shafiqul carrying the roof of his homestead they will migrate to the other side of Dakkin Patil Bari char island, using a boat to transport their homestead.

DAKKIN PATIL BARI, BANGLADESH – August 2011. In the last fortnight the Jamuna River has swollen from heavy monsoon rainfall causing severe flooding on the char islands. Women on Dakkin Patil Bariare forced to wade through the waterlogged land.

DAK BANGLA, SHAGHATA, BANGLADESH – August 2011. Workers submerge Jute crop using the water to break down and separate the fibres. These will then be dried and bundled up to take to the bazaar tosell to the wholesalers.

KORAIL, DHAKA, BANGLADESH – August 2011. An estimated 500,000 are living in Korail, one of Dhaka’s oldest slums. The increasing numbers of climate displaced people fleeing to Dhaka in search of work and a better life is causing severe strain on Dhaka’s infrastructure. The population in the capital is currently standing at 15 million and is one of the fastest growing megacities in the world.

KORAIL, DHAKA, BANGLADESH – August 2011. Slum dwellers taking food in one of the eating houses in Korail slum. The increasing numbers of climate displaced people fleeing to Dhaka in search of work and a better life is causing severe strain on Dhaka’s infrastructure.

BERI BAD, DHAKA, BANGLADESH – August 2011. Climate displaced refugees have been forced to locate to the outskirts of the capital as Dhaka’s population continues to swell. Out of necessity many migrants erect their shacks on stilts to escape the polluted ground water below.

MOTIJHEEL, DHAKA, BANGLADESH – August 2011. Workers push a cart of wholesale supplies through Motijheel district. The increasing numbers of climate displaced people fleeing to Dhaka in search of work and a better life is causing severe strain on Dhaka’s infrastructure. The population in the capital is currently standing at 15 million and is one of the fastest growing megacities in the world.

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