Each family incurs loss of Tk 33,000 to 400,000

Mubarak Hossain's home in North Bedkashi village, in southern Bangladesh, was left isolated on an island after flooding driven by Cyclone Amphan, on 30 April 2021Thomson Reuters Foundation/Rafiqul Islam Montu

Families of southern regions in the country have incurred an average loss of Tk 4, 62,491 each in natural disasters in the last 20 years.

The amount of loss in Shariatpur in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins has stood at Tk 2, 57, 330 while the figure is Tk 33,769 for Barendra regions.  

The Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD), a non-government organisation, came up with this statistics after carrying out a study with the assistance of three regional NGOs from Shariatpur, Rajshahi and Satkhira.

To assess the loss due to the climate change, the NGO took 200 families from each region as samples and conducted a study on 600 families from the three regions altogether.        

The chief executive of CPRD, Md Shamsuddoha, on Tuesday morning presented the study findings at Jahur Hossain Chowdhury auditorium of the national press club in Dhaka.     

Homesteads and croplands loss make people vulnerable 

People move their houses away Testa river as the erosion intensifies. The picture was taken from Gangachara in Rangpur on 23 October 2021.
Mainul Islam

River erosion costs average Tk 24,000 per family   

The average loss per family in Shariatpur in river erosion in the last 20 years has reached Tk 24,000 while the figure is Tk 2, 57, 330 in terms of other damages, including the deaths of livestock.  

Employment opportunities have reduced for 10.5 per cent of the citizens of this region. Due to displacement, 62.5 per cent are going through an identity crisis.

73 per cent of the survey participants said they don't enjoy festivals and don't feel as happy as before.

Due to river erosion and other natural calamities, the children of 35 per cent of survey participants have dropped out of school. To make ends meet, 26 per cent of the families are forced to send their children to work. 18 per cent of those children are involved in risky jobs.

Diseases increase in 99pc of families 

The research has revealed that 93 per cent of families living in the Barendra region are suffering from a water crisis. Due to natural calamities like excessive heat, the work hours have been reduced by 38.5 per cent. 48.5 per cent of people have been unemployed for varying periods. And the research has also revealed that due to climate change, diseases have become more prevalent in 99.5 per cent of families.

After presenting the research outcomes, CPRD chief executive Shamsuddoha said climate change deprives the affected people of the right to food, water, housing, medical care and education and to live a decent life.

The worsening of the human rights situation due to climate change also has to be taken into account. He hoped that UNHCR’s special rapporteur on human rights and climate change Ian Fry, who is currently visiting Bangladesh, would bring up this matter to the UN.

Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) general secretary Sharif Jamil said, “There is no doubt that climate change is causing a human rights crisis. This research is another proof of it.”

He said, more research needs to be conducted on people losing their rights and then outcomes of those researches need to be implemented in national and international policies.

Nikhil Chandra Bhadra, the coordinator of the Sundarbans and Coastal Protection Movement, said, “From the media and the people of the coastal region, we hear stories of their deprivation and them losing their rights. But we don’t see any steps being taken at the national and international level.”

SDS executive director Rabeya Begum and Badabon Sangho executive director Lipi Rahman were among the others who spoke at the conference. Moreover, experts on climate change and human rights, policymakers and participants also spoke at the event.