I travelled Char Mantaj, the last southern island of Rangabali Upazila of Patuakhali district on 27 September 2022 to conduct climate and disaster vulnerability and readiness assessment with CPE team. The story has been developed from the observation of the study sideline.
I see that women with their children are living in boats, somebody cooks food on there at Char Mantaj, the last southern island of Bangladesh. They are `Manta’ folks who spent their whole lives in boats. I knew little about them. I read some articles about them. After returning to Dhaka from Char Montaj, I searched for the articles on the `Manta’ community. Approximately 500 plus families are in `Manta’ community in Patuakhali district, these articles say. `Manta families’ float around the rivers of Char Mantaj. They are also found in the southern rivers, char and statuaries, particularly in Panpotty, Golachipa, Kalaiya, Boga, Bodnatali, Ulania, Patuakhali Sadar region. We also found such a family near the Goinkhali Launch Ghat of Rangabali during our journey from Char Momodarbunia Sluice Gate to Char Mantaj by launch.
G20 climate talks in Bali, Indonesia have been unable to agree a joint communique, amid objections over language used on climate targets and the war in Ukraine, the media report said. Although Indonesia’s Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar had started the meeting by urging countries to cut emissions and prevent the planet from being pushed to a point “where no future will be sustainable”, but some countries, including China, had objected to previously agreed language in the Glasgow climate pact and past G20 agreements on efforts to limit global average temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius, said an official with knowledge of the meeting, declining to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media, reports Reuters.
The report of NASA on Bangladesh, which is one of the most vulnerable country to climate change, came into view while reading the disappointing news of G20 talks. It seems, we are running towards a mirage. The world is demanding solution, but the leaders are busy in debate and commitment, then everything goes in about empty. Although the G20 emits 75 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, they are not participating in the reduction process properly. Financing discussions are not getting much importance, and finance is not being given as per their commitment. The whole discussion is turning into a stalemate.
Ashar and Srabon – these two months are the rainy season in the Bangla calendar. During this time, there will be rains, people will suffer, and water will overflow in canal-beel-pond-rivers. Farmers will have a busy time planting seeds in mud covered crop fields. And nature will be fresher. This is the character of monsoon. But for the last few years that character is no longer seen. Now heat wave has taken place during the monsoon. Sometimes it rains a little, but the nature burns with the intensity of summer. Even during full monsoons, the temperature rises to 35 degrees Celsius. And it is predicted to increase further by the Meteorological Department.
The amount of rainfall is less in the entire monsoon season. According to the sources of the Meteorological Department, in the month of July, Dhaka Division received 116 mm of rain, Chittogram Division 232 mm, Mymensingh 204 mm, Rajshahi 138 mm, Rangpur 299 mm, Khulna 120 mm, Barisal 220 mm and Sylhet maximum 531 mm. Meteorologists say that global warming is affecting the climate. So we see negative behavior in nature.
A report on North Eastern Flash Flood, May-June 2022 released yesterday by Need Assessment Working Group, Bangladesh which said 7.2 millions people of 9 districts (Sunamganj, Sylhet, Hobiganj, Moulovibazar, Mymensingh, Sherpur, Brahmanbaria, Kishorganj and Netrokona) of North-Eastern Part of Bangladesh have affected and 481,827 people have temporally displaced during the recent floods caused by heavy rains in the northeastern region and upstream Indian State Assan and Meghalaya. Kurigram District also inundates, but the report does not cover the district.
Not sufficient, but government allocates some budgetary amounts related to climate change to 25 ministries and to the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministries; unfortunately the ministries are not are not able to utilize these allocated amount. If we analyze the government budget, we will find out a huge differences between the actual expenditure and the budgetary allocations. In FY2019-20, there was budgetary allocation , amounted Tk. 787.24 crore Taka for climate change of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, but the ministry has utilized only Tk. 436.16 crore. The ministry couldn’t able to expend Tk.351.08 crore. The unutilized budgetary allocation was Tk. 147.49 crore in FY 2020-21. The climate budget of the ministry was Tk.542.57 crore for FY 2021-22, it has revised in Tk.582.62 crore in present budget session. The expenditure report tells us that the ministry has expended about 50 percent of climate allocation for FY 2021-22. So, The trends of the expenditure gives us a sign to failure again to utilize the allocated budget. The government also allocates climate budget to 25 ministries. The expenditure report of 25 ministries are not satisfactory also. There was unitize amount was Tk.4,407.04 crore in FY 2020-21, Tk.5,749.96 crore in FY 2019-20 and Tk.1293.9 crore in FY 2019-20. (Ref. Climate Budget Utilization Report by Prodip K. Roy).
Eight hundreds family of Mollar Char union and four hundreds families from Kamarjani Union, surrounded by river of Sadar Upazila of Gaibandha has migrated elsewhere losing their homestead, assets, lives and means of livelihoods due to river erosion of mighty Bramhaputra. People of coastal region including Padmapukur and Gabura union of Shymanagar of Satkhira and Dakhin Bedkashi, Uttar Bedkashi, Koyra Sadar union of Koyra Upazila of Khulna has also been suffering from coastal river erosion since year after year and force to migrate other regions only for survival.
The article published in climate tribune on 26 december 2020
The intensity and frequency of cyclones, floods and climatic hazards are increasing due to climate change, the experts say. Recognising the facts of climate change, the government has adopted different policy measures like BCCSAP, NAPA, Climate fiscal framework, Country climate investment plan etc and programmes like BCCTF, allocation of fiscal budget in climate change adaptation. But are these policies and programme protecting the people of Kamarjani, Mollar Char, Padmapukur, Gabura, Bedkashi and Koyra Sadar Union?
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday placed a five points actions for global leaders at the high level roundtable on climate change held at the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA@75) to protect the planet and humankind from the adversities of the climate changes.
Five points action for global leaders:
1. Increase international cooperation to protect the planet and mankind;
2. Polluting countries must increase their NDCs through necessary mitigation measures and keep global temperatures bellow 1.50C;
3. Implement all articles of the Paris Agreement;
4. Keep the promised funds and make it available to climate vulnerable countries.
5. Recognize the global responsibility for rehabilitation of climate induced displaced people.
The climate crisis and Covid-19 are crying out for international cooperation, writes the prime minister of Bangladesh. Courtesy: The Guardian.
One-third of my country was underwater last month. The heaviest rains in almost a decade began and have still not abated. More than 1.5 million Bangladeshis are displaced; tens of thousands of hectares of paddy fields have been washed away. Millions of my compatriots will need food aid this year.
Most of the disastrous impacts of climate change are expected to be felt within the near future. Young people are particularly vulnerable to the impacts, as they are often on the margins of decision-making and will face the climate change impacts for many more years to come. So it would be unethical to take steps (or not) to mitigate climate change or adapt to the problems without their contributions.
I’ll urge G20 countries to mainstream the issue of losses and damages as in many parts of the world the environmental losses have become permanent and irreparable
Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the G20 has a greater responsibility to come forward with stronger commitment to mobilise global support to address the issue of displacement or climate refugees. “Peace and security of all will largely depend on how we’ll be able to manage this forced displacement of innocent people,” she said. The Prime Minister said this while addressing the “Resilience and Recovery: Highlighting Solutions for the G20 on Climate and Sustainability” virtually from her official residence as keynote speaker organised by F20 Foundations and King Khaled Foundation, reports UNB.
People adjacent of Teesta River are dreaming a city like Switzerland and Singapore while the government has taken a mega plan to develop the Teesta Region with financial assistance of about eight thousands crore taka of Chinese government. “The beach-like marine drives would be built in the both side of the river Teesta, so that tourist and people go long drive smoothly, hotel-motel and power plant would be built”, leaders of the movement committee on `Save the Teesta, Save the River’ said. On 8 September 2020, on a consultative meeting, the leaders of the committee has also expressed their gratitude to the Prime Minister for hearing their long times demand.
Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihooods – CSRL conducted a climate hearing on 2nd February 2018 focusing `embankment management involving LGIs’ in the context of climate change. CSRL has been organizing the event since 2009 in Bangladesh. The hearing took place for the first time on December 4, 2009 and then again on November 8, 2010. On 2018, the hearing was the third edition of the National Climate Hearing where three plaintiffs fro Gaibandha, Khulna and Satkhira district raised petitions on their suffering caused by global warming. They Jury panel included lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury, formar Banker Khondkar Imbrahi Khaled, academicians Dr. Jahangir Alam and Dr. Mahbuba Nasrin, panel of experts included Dr. Ainun Nishad, Dr. Tofayel Ahmed, Dr. Ahsan Uddin Ahmed. Dr. Qazi Khiliquzzaman Ahmad, Chair of CSRL declared the verdict to include local government institutions in embankment management to reduce vulnerability of people due to climate change.
“Two hundred and fifty people have died in the flood-hit areas of the country this year. Most of them have drowned. However, 67,301 people have been affected by various diseases including diarrhea, skin diseases and bronchitis in the 33 flood-hit districts. Of these, half are diarrhea”, the information came up in the report ,‘Update on Natural Disasters and Flood Deaths’ of the control room of the National Health Crisis Management Center of the Department of Health. The data for the last two months from June 30 to August 28 was released. Of the 251 people in the flood-hit area, 210 drowned, 13 were struck by lightning, 25 by snake bites, one by diarrhea and two by injuries. The update has published at Daily Ittefaq today.
But the ministry of disaster management and relief said on 25 August 2020 that only 42 person have died during the floods. So there have controversy in number of death between Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and National Health Management Crisis Center.
International Youth Day is going to be celebrated as usual on August 12 with the slogan ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’ to face the crisis of COVID-19 and climate change. The anticipation of this year of Youth Day is that the youth will be effectively involved in policy-making programs at the local, national and international levels in tackling the crisis of COVID-19 and climate change, and the youth’s expectations will be reflected in the policy-making.
The people, particularly the coastal is facing severe difficulties with drinking water. The women of the coastal region walk two or three miles to collect drinking water. The Jalbayu Parishad, in English Climate Council, a local civic organization in Koyra and Shyamnagar, has identified two major problems coastal region due to climate change, one Embankment and the other drinking water crisis. To bringing solution of these problems, the Climate Council has taken various types of advocacy approaches; they conducts lobby meeting with local public administration, local government representatives and policy makers to address the issue of coastal embankment and water, and has continued advocacy activities at national level. Climate Council and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) have jointly convened a ‘Third National Climate Hearing’ in Dhaka in 2018, National Consultation Meeting in 2019, Memorandum Submission to the honorable Prime Minister by Union Council Chairman’s, holding press conferences, etc. to bringing a policy decision on these two issues.
Like others, we have been also running ‘Office from Home‘ since March 25 of this year to adapt with the situation arises due to coronavirus and search a way to continue the programme of climate finance which we have been implementing since 2017. Despite the difficulties of conducting activities with the community from home, it is ongoing but slowly. To adapt with the situation, weekly meetings with team members have been organized by the Secretariat at Facebook Messenger to maintain contact with local office colleagues, develop work plans and monitor progress in order to implement the programme of climate finance. But the extra noise created in Facebook Messenger, we made a decision to buy the zoom software. Today, the weekly meeting was held in Zoom which we purchased recently. Although we have participated at the meeting held in Zoom organized by others, but we never create a zoom meeting. That is why; there were some technical problems in today’s meeting. Now we have to solve those technical problems.
2 months ago, during the last Eid-ul-Fitr, the government gave Tk.2, 500 to the poor families all over the country. That assistance was received by 5 million poor families across the country. This time 10 kg of rice will be given to a family by the government in occasion of Eid-ul-Azha to be held on 1st August 2020. A total of 1 crore 8 lakh families will get this assistance. The rice has already been released. The government has also started distributing this rice as humanitarian assistance, according to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
The World Bank has prepared a report titled `Estimates of the Impact of COVID 19 on Global Probability’ published in 2020 based on three categories of income, the first category has a daily income of USD 1.90 (BDT 171), the second daily income USD 3.20 (BDT 262) and the last daily income USD 5 (BDT 476). Reference:The daily Jugantar, 26 April 2020. According to the report:
In Bangladesh, the population earning less than USD 2 a day is 2 crore 37 lakhs or 14.8 percent. They are identified as extremely poor. If Corona hits a maximum of 20 percent of a person’s income and purchasing power, their total income below USD 2 a day will increase by 6 percent, in other words, 98 lakh more people will be added to the list of the extreme poor. and their total income below USD 3.2 will increase by 7 percent.
The number of people earning a daily income above USD 1.90 or below USD 3.6 is 68 million (55 percent). If the corona hits 20 percent of income would increase the rate from 55 to 62 percent. That means it will increase by 7 percent. As a result, 1 crore 12 lakh more people will become poor. As a result, 27 million people will be included in the list of poor and extremely poor in the new cove in the Corona retaliation.
If it hits 5 percent instead of 20 percent, the poorest (USD 1.90) will increase by 1 percent and the poor (USD 3.20) by 1.52 percent. As such, the number of extremely poor and needy people in Bangladesh will be 4 million anew; Of these, 18 lakh will be extremely poor and 24 lakh people will become poor.
If the corona hits 20 percent of the income or purchasing power of the people of Bangladesh, 20 million people will fall below the extreme poverty and poverty again. And if the hit rate is even 5 percent, then 4 million people will fall from their previous position.