DHAKA - More than 95.72 million people of Bangladesh are likely to be displaced by environmental and weather-related disasters by 2040, experts have warned, and the situation is likely to grow worse as climatic disorders exacerbate such problems.
The Unnayan Onneshan (Development Search), an independent multidisciplinary think tank, revealed in its new research that the number of climate change-induced forced displacement cases is increasing at an alarming proportion in Bangladesh, according to a report released in Dhaka on Thursday.
Taking into account floods, cyclones, river bank erosion, and droughts as usual scenarios, the leading research organization estimates that climate change-induced migration rate in Bangladesh may reach 22.37 million, 48.28 million, and 95.72 million by 2020, 2030, and 2040 respectively.
Analyzing existing data, the Unnayan Onneshan has found that an average 2.5 million people are displaced permanently by every major flood. Within the last five years, Cyclone Sidr displaced 650,000 people, Cyclone Bijli displaced 20,000 people, and another 842,000 were displaced by Cyclone Aila.
Moreover, 1.45 million people were displaced due to river bank erosion in 2012, and 3 million people were displaced internally, both directly and indirectly, on a temporary basis due to drought in 2011.
Referring to the increased number of displacement cases over the years, the Unnayan Onneshan alerts that flood may displace 5.25 million, 11.02 million, and 23.16 million people by 2020, 2030, and 2040 respectively, based upon the historical trend.
If radical actions are not taken, 1.58 million, 6.46 million, and 26.39 million may be displaced due to cyclone by 2020, 2030, and 2040 respectively. In addition, if the current situation continues unabated, river bank erosion could displace 11.62 million, 26.15 million, and 40.67 million by 2020, 2030 and 2040 respectively.
In addition, 3.92 million, 4.64 million, and 5.5 million may be displaced due to drought by 2020, 2030, and 2040.
The report titled “The Tempest of Exodus: The Case of Climate Change-induced Displacement in Bangladesh and International Negotiations” was released under its Durban to Doha Technical Paper Series as the countries negotiate in Doha on the actions to be taken to combat climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, chairperson of the Unnayan Onneshan, said Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change due to a number of hydrological, geological, and socio-economic factors.
He said the impact of climate change is visible in the form of extreme temperature, erratic rainfall, and increased number of intensified floods, cyclones, droughts, prevalence of rough weather in the bay, aggravated by poverty-related vulnerabilities and poor infrastructure.
Pointing to the inaction at the international negotiations, the Unnayan Onneshan says: “The upsurge in migration, caused by environmental degradation and climate change, is unprecedented; yet the world is still mired only in ‘expression of intent’ in the climate change negotiations, at the cost of the people’s lives and livelihood, particularly the poor and the marginalized, who have no contribution in changing the climate.”
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