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Fleeing Nature 3
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
13 Apr 2015

Mohammad Razzaque Miah sleeps inside his temporary tent in Mymensing. He migrated from Kurigram to Mymensing after losing his house in a flood.

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Fleeing Nature: Bangladesh's Climate ...
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
31 Mar 2015

Sept-Oct, 2014

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a country of rivers and waterways on which large swaths of its population live. River bank erosion and flooding are common and continuous process due to global warming and rising sea levels. This continuous natural hazard is destroying homes and livelihoods and turning millions of Bangladeshis into homeless climate refugees.

The factors controlling river and stream formation are complex and interrelated. These factors include the amount and rate of water supply from rain and upstream activity, sediment deposited into the stream systems, catchment geology, and the type and extent of vegetation in the catchment. As these factors change over time, river systems respond by altering their shape and course. Unpredictable weather patterns also make flooding a common problem as the course of the rivers shift.

As a result of riverbank erosion and flooding, millions of people are losing their homes and fertile land every year. Most people who lose their homes or land become climate refugees, often pouring into the country’s overpopulated cities penniless and looking for new opportunities.  However, due to overpopulation, migrating climate refugees often arrive in the cities only to find themselves scrounging for food, work and accommodation. Thus, Bangladesh’s most vulnerable citizens are losing their battle against nature and are only made poorer and more desperate.  

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Sinking States: Climate Change and th...
By Gemima Harvey
31 Jan 2015

The Pacific Islands are on the front lines of climate change, their shores nibbled away by a swollen tideline. This article explores the perils associated with a warming planet, using the Pacific region as a case study, drawing on the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. It also addresses Australia's apparent disregard of the need to look toward renewable energy sources and examines the concept of 'climate refugees'.

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Fleeing Nature 1
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
19 Nov 2014

A homeless climate refugee sleeps in a park at Dhaka. The Bangladeshi capital is one of the most densely populated cities on earth. One of the major contributing factors to this swell in population is the mass migration of people from the impoverished countryside into the city. Many of those leaving the countryside fled after losing homes, crops, and livelihoods to natural catastrophes.

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Fleeing Nature 6
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Mohammad Rashid Miah cut down all of the trees around his house on Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. Having already lost his house to the river, Mr. Miah is salvaging his trees in order to sell them and save enough money to move to Dhaka.

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Fleeing Nature 8
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Rubel stands in front of his uprooted coconut trees on Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. After loosing his cow to river bank erosion, these coconut trees were his last source of livelihood. However, these trees have now also fallen victim to the river.

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Fleeing Nature 12
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Rabeya Khatun mourns her lost husband and son on Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. Her husband and son lost their lives when their house was swallowed by the river as they slept. Rabeya was at her mother's house when the incident occurred and thus survived.

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Fleeing Nature 13
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Mohammad Ikram stands in front of the Meghna river, near Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. He has seen his neighbors migrating and even dying because of water related disasters. Despite strong signals that it is best to leave the area, he does not know what to do because his land is all he has.

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Fleeing Nature 2
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
03 Oct 2014

Sadarghat Launch Terminal, situated on the bank of the river Buriganga in Dhaka, is one of the busiest places in Bangladesh. Most people migrating from the countryside pass through this port to migrate to Dhaka. Many of those migrating are climate refugees.

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Climate change bangladesh 08
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
09 Sep 2014

Jogodish Borua, 65, lost his land and his house to river erosion.

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Climate change bangladesh 09
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
09 Sep 2014

Abdul Aziz, who lost his home to erosion along the banks of the river, takes a bath in the Padma.

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Climate change bangladesh 15
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
09 Sep 2014

A fisherman and a local villager cross paths on the banks of the river Padma.

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Climate change bangladesh 20
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
09 Sep 2014

The situation is especially severe for children. A woman and child have been displaced along with other members of their neighborhood who also lost their homes.

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Climate change bangladesh 06
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
09 Sep 2014

A man walks through the ruins of a house damaged by river erosion.

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Climate change bangladesh 14
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
09 Sep 2014

A boy plays on the banks of the river Padma in a spot where there once sat family homes.

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Fleeing Nature 4
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Shahjahan transports tin sheets and other materials from his house. Some families actually migrate before disaster strikes so they do not lose all of their belongings in an impending disaster. Mohammad deconstructed his entire house and moved it elsewhere before it was destroyed by the water.

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Fleeing Nature 5
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Mamun stands over his submerged house in the Padma River in Dohar, Dhaka. Mr. Mamun's house was swallowed by the Padma after river bank erosion resulted in a land implosion.

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Fleeing Nature 7
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Romjal Ali takes a selfie with his destroyed house. Mr. Ali's house was destroyed by the eroding river bank. Dohar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Fleeing Nature 9
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Rabeya Begum stands over the roof of her house which she salvaged after it was destroyed by river bank erosion. She is going to use the salvaged materials to build her new home. Dohar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Fleeing Nature 10
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Khadija Akhter was only able to save this cabinet and some bricks from her house after river bank erosion resulted in her house being destroyed and submerged. Dohar, Dhaka.

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Fleeing Nature 11
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Hashmot Ali's house sits tilted and half submerged in the Padma river after the bank on which his house was built gave way. Dohar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Climate change bangladesh 19
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
24 Aug 2014

People who lost their homes set up makeshift shelters along the river.

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Climate change bangladesh 01
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
24 Aug 2014

Rising water levels on the river Padma in Bangladesh threaten homes and put inhabitants of the river basin at risk.

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Climate change bangladesh 04
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
24 Aug 2014

When the Padma river rises, erosion becomes a serious problem for the community living on the river. At the same time, waste littering the earth pollutes the water.

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Climate change bangladesh 07
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
24 Aug 2014

Houses sit near the banks of the river Padma in Bangladesh.

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Climate change bangladesh 17
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
24 Aug 2014

Flooding and erosion along the Padma river in Bangladesh has resulted in many people losing their homes and their land.

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Climate change bangladesh 05
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
24 Aug 2014

People are sometimes forces to move their houses to another place out of the path of river erosion.

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Climate change bangladesh 18
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
24 Aug 2014

A family made homeless by erosion and flooding along the Padma River dry cloth on the riverbank.

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Climate change bangladesh 12
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
28 Jun 2014

Rohim Shekh, 72, walks through an area devastated by Cyclone Aila in 2007. He was displaced by the Cyclone, which many now see as a result of climate change.

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Climate change bangladesh 13
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
28 Jun 2014

This community was devastated by cyclones Aila in 2007 and Sidr in 2009. People here still face hardships from these catastrophic events, some of them traveling miles for fresh water.

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Climate change bangladesh 10
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
28 Jun 2014

This community was devastated by cyclones Aila in 2007 and Sidr in 2009. People here still face hardships from these catastrophic events, some of them traveling miles for fresh water.

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Bangladesh 'at Risk' due to Climate C...
Dhaka
By zakir hossain chowdhury
28 Jun 2014

Rising global temperatures have been accompanied by changes in weather and climate, and many places have seen changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, or intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves. Climate change is now one of the greatest threats facing the planet.

Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries, as the lives and livelihoods of millions of Bangladeshis are challenged due to climate change. A study by UK researcher Maplecroft cites Bangladesh at the top of a list of 32 nations at risk due to the alarming effects of climate change.

Low lying coastal areas are speculated to be submerged as the sea level rises, and as world temperature continues to go up. Two recent cyclones, Sidr (2007) and Aila (2009) totally devastated the coastal territories of Satkhira and Barguna along with many others in Bangladesh.

Hundreds if not thousands of people have lost their land and their homes to erosion along riverbanks and coastal areas. Bangladesh is one of the countries in the world with the highest proportion of the population living in coastal areas. Some 32% of the habitable land lies in coastal areas, equivalent to 47,211 square kilometers. According to the population census in 2001, about 35 million people, or 28% of the total population, live in these low-lying coastal areas.

Another cause for alarm that exacerbates the effects of climate change on the population in Bangladesh is pollution. By throwing waste chemicals and oil from factories into canals and rivers, soil and groundwater become polluted. Industrial processes are not only a factor in climate change, but also produce toxic waste that threatens Dhaka's natural resources.

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Coral Triangle
Coral Triangle
By Mark_Esplin
10 Jun 2014

The Coral Triangle is one of the world’s most important natural resources. It is an area of ocean that covers 5.4 million km2, where more biodiversity can be found than anywhere else on Earth.

The 3,000+ species of fish, and vast coral reefs, provide livelihoods and food for an estimated 130 million people in the region. Millions more throughout the world also benefit from the bounty of natural resources, provided by the Coral Triangle.

But all is not well in paradise. Scientists, environmentalists, economists and governments, are increasingly worried for the future of this ecosystem. In the last forty years alone, the Coral Triangle has incurred substantial losses of 40% to its reefs and mangroves.

Projections suggest this rate of degradation is likely to continue, or increase into the future. With such significant numbers of people reliant on this natural resource, there is a potential catastrophe of global proportions waiting to happen.

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Indonesia floods 21
Jakarta
By Elisabetta Zavoli
17 Feb 2014

Mukhoiriah, 36, with her ​​mother and her children stands in front of their house. She has been living there since she was born and, over the years, her family has filled the flooded floor with sands and rocks thus burying their own house. Mukhoiriah remembers having had tidal floods every day. The road is the only area, inside Banger river community, that has been lifted, many times, by the city government, so now, it is higher than Mukhoiriah's house.

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Indonesia floods 22
Jakarta
By Elisabetta Zavoli
17 Feb 2014

Sanusi, 56, is a worms seller. He lives alone in the house where he was born, in the Banger river community. For 30 years, the high tide continuously has been flooding the floor. Since 10 years, Sanusi has not been able to put his feet on the ground because it is constantly full of water. He lives under the roof perched on the rafters like a bird. He has no electricity, no services. He cannot cook, so every day he buys ready food from street stalls. He has no money to buy a pump or to raise the floor.

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Indonesia floods 23
Jakarta
By Elisabetta Zavoli
17 Feb 2014

Umi, 53, inside his house in the poor community along the Banger river. She has been living here for 34 years. Over this period, the house has been lifted 3 times and totally rebuilt once. The black mark on the wall corresponds to the height of sea water that chronically enters.

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Indonesia floods 24
Semarang, Semarang
By Elisabetta Zavoli
17 Feb 2014

Qomariah, 44, under the mosquito net with his son Leno, 2. They live in the poor community along the Banger river. This area is constantly subject to flooding due to high tide and subsidence. Here, the sea water can rise up to 50 cm.

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Indonesia floods 25
Jakarta
By Elisabetta Zavoli
15 Feb 2014

The reflection of a shoes vendor is mirrored in the sea water, in Johar market, Semarang's old town. This area is subject to a subsidence of 2-3 cm/year and the high tide can rise up to 1 meter from the ground.