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VANISHING BANGLADESH

03/02/2012

BANGLADESH |

With the continuance of Global Warming, Bangladesh, as one of the 10 countries most vulnerable to a rise in sea level in the world, is being drastically affected.

This is indeed a cruel twist of fate, since Bangladesh, as one of the poorest countries on Earth, has contributed very little to Global Warming.

This photo-essay explores the fate of the estimated 6.5million people who live on the Chars (large sandback River Islands that once belonged to the mainland), and associated erosion areas, in the country where land is the real hunger: 80% of its population is rural, 60% landless.

Men take a local boat to go to the mainland market at sunset. Many Char-Dwellers go to the mainland markets once or twice a week for selling or purchasing different kinds of merchandise.

The efects of the erosion rivers are causing in the Charlands. Everytime a family has to move to a new village in the same Char or in a different one, the process pushes them further into poverty.

A man gives the finishing touches to his new house. He was recently forced to move to this new area on the same Char because the river had destroyed his village.

Only 40% of the Char in the Jamuna River persists more than 6 years. It implies that Char dwellers in 60% of the Jamuna Chars have to migrate more than once within 6 years.

It is not unusual for adults in the Jamuna region to have moved six to ten times in their lives.

A group of children check the effects of river erosion on the mainland. In the last 20 years, the rivers have been angrier. The Jamuna (whose banks are about the most erosion-prone places in the country) has swollen and changed its course drowning some Charlands for ever and creating new ones.

Disaster is no longer predictabe.

Men gather at a local teahouse in one of the river Chars. While many chars are too poor or too new to offer such commodities, others have survived for several years and its inhabitants have opened up small shops or tea houses.

On the mainland, a woman dismantles her house before she builds it again on the roadside.

The river is eroding the land day by day thus forcing thousands to move somewhere else, but land is scarce on the mainland and many are unable to find new land for agriculture. Erosion may turn a land-owning farmer into a landless day labourer.

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Source: Miki Alcalde

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Jamuna

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