Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Climate change Pushing Bangladeshis into India"

From The Indian:

Dhaka, Nov 29 (IANS) Many people from coastal areas of Bangladesh forced out of their homes by the effects of climate change have started migrating towards already over-populated and infrastructure-crippled cities - and to India for their survival.

“The climate refugees are moving towards cities. After Cyclone Aila in May 2009 many from Khulna (one of Bangladesh’s coastal districts) have moved to Dhaka and India,” Ainun Nishat, senior climate change adviser and one of those who drafted the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy And Action Plan 2009, told IANS in an interview.

“Another impact of climate change would be in the form of increase in river bank erosion. This will also push people out of their original settlements. For a densely populated country like Bangladesh, any further concentration of population in safe areas will not be desirable. Thus migration, first within the country, then to areas far beyond, is not to be ruled out,” he said.

Bangladesh is the world’s seventh most populous country with 112 million people, most of them poor. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Myanmar to the southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south.

Its major cities include Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Barisal, Bogra, Comilla, Mymensingh and Rangpur. It is feared that up to 50 percent of the land could be flooded if the sea level were to rise by a metre as a result of climate change.

In that case more people will move to the already infrastructure crippled cities and also to India, which is already facing a huge problem of illegal Bangladeshi migrants who are a burden on its economy.

Peter Kim Streatfield of an international health research institution in Dhaka said slums in the city are already growing at the rate of seven percent every year while the city itself is growing at the rate of 1.1 percent.

“It will add more burden on the resources,” he added...

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