Sunday Times Desk ::
Beauty Akhtar and his family live in the region of Pirojpur in southern Bangladesh . An area ravaged by two cyclones Sidr and Aila in 2007 and 2009.
Hundreds dead and thousands displaced from their homes were the balance of these two disasters.
River dikes have not been rebuilt, making life more difficult for those who have remained in their homes as Beauty and her family.
Beauty explains the chaos left by the cyclone:
“The cyclone killed our animals, our cows, our goats and our ducks and chickens. The houses were demolished and cobijamos us with children in a house of bricks. Even going up there was hard. We could not take any of our belongings, not even bedding. It was horrible”.
Water has been a friend and an enemy of Bangladesh for centuries. It is necessary for the survival and livelihoods, crops and fisheries. But water is also enemy by floods and monsoons that caused a third of the territory of Bangladesh to be held by the water.
Bangladesh is one of the countries most affected by climate change. In short, it is a real witness of this phenomenon, which further worsens the situation of one of the world’s poorest countries. Half of its 144 million inhabitants live on less than one euro per day.
For this expert on climate change, it is still hard to blame human activity from natural disasters.
Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow, International Institute for Enviroment and Development
“The scientific evidence that climate change is happening is quite strong. However, the problem is to try to attribute any kind of event such as a flood or a cyclone to climate change caused by man. We can not do this yet.
On the other hand, of course, we can discern certain trends and attribute.
In the case of Bangladesh, historically we have a long history of flooding, recorded from the time of colonization, one hundred fifty years ago.
We also have a record of the extent of the flooding and frequency that have occurred in the last twenty years. There have been four major floods. However, this situation can not be attributed directly to climate change, but what will happen. “
Preparing for what happens is the main objective of adaptation programs funded by the European Union and the World Food Programme.
In Bagerhat district in southern Bangladesh, the locals are taught how to examine the river water village. The salt water has entered the water that farmers use for their crops.
Roy Kopulna depend on fishing for their survival shrimp, particularly to feed her two year old son.
A small loan program helps women in the European Union, has allowed him to rent this shrimp fishing pond.
It’s not much, but at least allows you to feed your child. In this country, sixty million people suffer from malnutrition.
“I suffered a lot when ever saw mothers feed their children. Always I hoped to do the same for my child, so I thought of renting a pond like them, so I could feed my child. Everything we do is for the sake of the kids. “
To learn how to fish better, grow better and drinking water, the Minister of the Environment says that although we can not stop climate change, we can prepare.
“It is important to adapt. Even if tomorrow we zero emissions, the temperature will continue to rise for some years yet. Then what do we do? It is essential to adapt, and is a priority for us. “
But this adaptation costs money. This was the main theme of the Summit on Climate Change held in Copenhagen in December 2009.
The money has been crucial to help people like Fulmia Mohamad, who had to leave home to twenty times after the great floods of 1988.
Mohamad Fulmiam, flood victim:
“As the river loses depth, we see destruction all year. Before, this was not so, we could cultivate. Now everything changes all the time “
The effects of climate change in Bangladesh cause the rainy season is unpredictable, alternating. Floods and droughts. Extreme situations have caused migration to already overcrowded urban areas.
Arham Uddin Siddiqui, EU Rural Development Expert:
“If you look ten years ago, how erosion occurs with the river flow goes pararelo with the number of displaced people, more than 100,000 every year. If this situation continues and gets worse, I’m afraid that people will have to emigrate, but not only to urban areas, perhaps only fits the option of emigrating abroad “.
After the summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Bangladesh should have received 5.000 million foreign aid. This money has not yet arrived.
Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action:
“It is absolutely crucial that developed countries as a whole fulfill the promise made in Copenhagen to send 22,000 million euros between now and 2012. It is, absolutely, a question of credibility for the rich countries.”
Hasan Mahmud, Minister of Environment of Bangladesh:
“In Copenhagen, we agreed to allocate money for the first time, for adaptation and risk prevention of natural disasters. Therefore, our expectation was to have a legally binding agreement, but understood even before Copenhagen that would not be possible, so it was not a failure, there were many successes. But, we must achieve in Cancun that we dream get in Copenhagen. “
Make dreams … in Cancun. Hopes to play at the next summit on Climate Change United Nations to be held in the Mexican city from November 29 to December 10.
Hope you have a complicated situation in countries such as Bangladesh, is that the European Union countries and rich finish what they started in Copenhagen launch clear proposals, and donate money to help those who are suffering the aggression of Mother Nature.