From the 9-13 January 2011, Displacement Solutions (DS) sent a five-person team to Bangladesh to investigate climate-induced displacement throughout the southern delta region. Working closely with DS partners the Alliance of Climate Refugees (ACR) and Youth Power in Social Action (YPSA), the DS team carried out extensive field visits to a number of sites in Dacope, a sub-district of Khulna District. What we saw there shocked us – in one instance, some 30,000 displaced people living in dismal and dehumanising conditions along a 25km long embankment. These climate displaced persons (CDPs) and tens of thousands of others have been displaced for 20 months, and, as things stand, there is no solution in place to find new homes or lands for these people whose current huts will likely be washed away before the end of the year when the annual storms arrive again in earnest.
For a brief video taken on the embankment please click here.
Even more shocking than witnessing the destitution these people are forced to live in, is the realization that these people make up only a very small fraction of the total 6.5 million climate displaced persons living in Bangladesh today; some on the delta, some along riverbanks and others elsewhere. This is a vast problem requiring concrete and comprehensive solutions which have not yet been forthcoming. Given that the country may see a further 30 million people displaced by mid-century, the time for concerted action is upon us all.
In seeking concrete housing, land and property rights solutions to climate displacement in Bangladesh, DS and its partners worked together to develop a joint, five-year strategy towards this end. Funded by a generous grant by the Department of International Solidarity of the Canton of Geneva, the mission also carried out a one-day training session for 35 participants on housing, land and property rights and climate change, in the town of Jessore.
No country is more devastated by climate change than Bangladesh, and all predictions point to the situation worsening before it gets better. DS is committed to working with our friends and the Government in Bangladesh to find land-based solutions for all displaced communities in this nation of 160 million inhabitants. Land is available in the country, and it will be crucial now to identify precisely where people can move, how they can move and how the district and national governments can best assist in securing the HLP rights of all climate displaced communities in the nation today and in the future. The report on the January 2011 DS mission to Bangladesh is available here.