Around six million people have been displaced from their homes due to the effects of climate change in Bangladesh, International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today.
Increased temperature and variations in rainfall are the most prevalent elements of climate change affecting the lives and livelihoods of Bangladeshi people in recent years, according to a study of IOM.
The study, conducted in Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal by Displacement Solutions, an international organisation dedicated to resolving cases of forced displacement across the world, was presented at a Regional Dissemination Meeting on ‘Assessing the Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Migration Nexus in South Asia’ at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
The costal districts of the country are very vulnerable to cyclones, storm surges, tidal floods, salinity intrusion and sea level rise, while the regions in north and north-east of Bangladesh are susceptible to drought, flashfloods and riverine floods, making people's lives difficult, it said.
The study, carried out among 320 households in four separate upazilas of Khulna, Patuakhali, Rajshahi and Sunamganj on Bangladesh, also underscored that climate change and environmental degradation will further contribute to the movement of people living in the region.
MD Golam Rabbani, a lead consultant at Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, led the team for conducting the study in Bangladesh.
According to the research findings, 92 percent respondents felt that the impacts of internal migration have made the women more vulnerable as the male members of their families go for working outside of their own districts, he said.
According to another report by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), around 9.6 million people in the country will migrate due to climatic factors between 2011 and 2050, excluding temporary and seasonal migrations.
Referring the IDMC report, Rabbani said that over 19 million people across the world were displaced internally in 2015 due to sudden-onset disasters, of which 7.9 million or 41 percent were from South Asian countries.
Bangladesh and Nepal are countries of origin of many less skilled international migrants while Maldives is identified as the destination of many migrants from both Bangladesh and Nepal, he said.
However, all three countries are also destination for skilled migrants originating from within the region, Rabbani added.
Prof Ainun Nishat, an eminent expert on climate change issue and former vice chancellor of BRAC University, however, said ensuring alternative livelihoods for the affected people instead of encouraging them for the migration may be the solution of the problem.
Secretary of the Environment and Forests Ministry Istiaque Ahmad and Chief of Mission, IOM Bangladesh Sarat Dash, among others, spoke at the launching ceremony of the meeting.