Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Fish market system

Fish market system

Kutubdia was 65 square kilometer even in 90s. Now It is only 26 squa re kilometer due to land erosion. People of this area had to shift their homes countless times followed by tidal surges caused by climate change. Losing ancestral home and all belongings the helpless people become climate refugees. They start searching for new shelters. Once they find out shelter, there comes the threat of eviction and other problems. Ariful Haque’s Report. Habib Rubel takes videos. Noor Muhammad: I have lost my kids and parents during the cyclone of 91. Then I get into salt farming, now I am on it only. Nur Muhammad lives at Char Dhurang of Kutubdia. Almost all the people of this char land which is of 12 square kilometers have the same experience. Kutubdia is sinking in the sea slowly. The sea level rises here at eight millimeters a year, which is three and half times higher than other places. Water reaches here, up to my throat. There is no road or embankment dam and when flood water comes, it becomes waist deep. Children can’t go to schools, kids suffer most. There is no permanent house in coastal areas. As far as the eye can see only huts for temporary living can be seen. Once upon a time this land was green. But now there is salt only. Agriculture is a long gone profession here. People have only two professions, some work in the salt field and some dry shrimps. We used to grow rice and other crops, raise cattle and do all sorts of farming. It is not possible to raise chickens and ducks and cattle for saline water. Those who have determination and courage to start again after all those battles with the sea, sometimes leave Kutubdia. A local NGO, COAST estimated that every year at least ten thousand climate refugees leave Kutubdia in search for new job. Climate refugees from Kutubdia take shelter in this part of Cox’s Bazar at first. For their coming every year, the name of the place called as Kutubdia Parha. There is no electric line. Roads are dilapidated. Authorities say, anytime they will be evicted. So what is the use of roads and other amenities? I came here after 91. I used to do earth work. I didn’t leave a single stone unturned for survival. If they go for a new destination, they have to start anew. They will be estranged from the culture and social bondage they have been in for generations. Either it is Coxbazar, Patuakhali or Barguna. The stories are same. Projects come and go aimed at empowering people to be resilient in the face of climate change. But the fate of the refugees remains unchanged. Those who can afford migrate, but a large portion fail to do so. Those who have been trapped in the poverty. The population of Bangladesh is increasing from 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent. But the population is decreasing in the coastal belt. Scientists in the UN says, climate change will affect around 2.5 crore people by the year 2050. Ariful Haque, Bangla Vision, Cox’s Bazar

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