Climate Change Fallout in Bangladesh: 9.6m people to migrate by 2050

Daily Star - Staff Correspondent

Increased natural disasters and loss of livelihoods due to climatic factors are forcing people to migrate internally, according to a study of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Costal districts are very vulnerable to cyclones, storm surges, tidal floods, salinity intrusion and sea level rise, while drought, flash floods and riverine floods have made public life very difficult in the north and northeast region of Bangladesh, it says.
The IOM yesterday shared the information at a Regional Dissemination Meeting of “Assessing the Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Migration Nexus in South Asia” jointly organised by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in the capital's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The IOM conducted the study in Bangladesh, the Maldives and Nepal. In Bangladesh, the research was carried out among 320 households in four upazilas of Khulna, Patuakhali, Rajshahi and Sunamganj.
Around 9.6 million people in Bangladesh, excluding temporary and seasonal migrants, will migrate internally due to climatic factors between 2011 and 2050, says the IOM in its study referring to a report of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) done in 2015.
Referring to another report of Displacement Solutions, an international organisation dedicated to resolving cases of forced displacement throughout the world, the IOM also mentioned that around six million people have been displaced from their houses due to climate change effects in Bangladesh.
Increased temperatures and variations in rainfall are the most prevalent climate change elements affecting the lives and livelihoods of people in Bangladesh in recent years, it mentioned.
Golam Rabbani, a leading consultant at Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, led the team for conducting the study in Bangladesh.
As he was presenting his research findings, he said 92 percent respondents felt that the impacts of internal migration had made women more vulnerable as men could go for work in another district.
Referring to the IDMC report, he said more than 19 million people across the world were displaced internally in 2015 due to sudden-onset of disasters.
Of the global total, 7.9 million or 41 percent were from South Asia, he added.
Bangladesh and Nepal are the countries of origin of many less skilled international migrants, while the Maldives is identified as the destination of many migrants from both Bangladesh and Nepal. However, all three countries are also destination for skilled migrants originating from within the region.
Prof Ainun Nishat, an eminent expert on climate change issues and former vice-chancellor of BRAC University, however, said it was essential to ensure alternative livelihoods for the affected people instead of encouraging them in migration.
Environment and Forests Ministry Secretary Istiaque Ahmad and Chief of Mission of IOM Bangladesh Sarat Dash, among others, spoke on the occasion.


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