Climate refugees are now not a new thing at all. Climate refugees experience adverse impacts on their livelihoods due to sudden or gradual changes in the environment; due to which they are forced to live temporarily or permanently in the country or outside the country.
The adverse effects of climate change lead to many natural calamities like river erosion, heavy rainfall, drought, flash floods, landslides, and sea level rise in Bangladesh. With these natural disasters, the majority of people in the coastal belt region are suffering. Furthermore, people in the coastal belt do not have access to water sanitation facilities, additional income opportunities, or food security. They aspire for survival with bright hope when they encounter climate migrants who have left behind all of their belongings. In reality, life is so hard in the new places that survival is nearly impossible. First, they were mostly involved with agricultural activities and fishing. They lack formal education and technical knowledge, which would allow them to put their skills to use in looking for new job opportunities. Gradually, the number of climate refugees is increasing in Bangladesh, and generally, we treat them as internally displaced persons. According to AP news, "the assumption has been made that 2000 people are coming into Dhaka City, with many fleeing from coastal towns." (A.-E. G. ALAM 18 August 2022). This is a common thing: climate refugees will move to places where income opportunities remain higher, and we cannot stop them. We can provide alternative income opportunities and adaptation mechanisms. Now comes the million-ton question: how do income opportunities for climate refugees with adaptation mechanisms work? According to a report, "the Mongla model can be an example of adaptation and income opportunity for climate refugees. Because Mongla has a success story. Climate refugees could transform their lives through new opportunities and a new approach to climate change adaptation. With its seaport, export processing zone, and climate-resilient infrastructure, Mongla has provided new opportunities for climate refugees." (J. ALAM 27 July 2022) Community engagement, awareness and technical training, diversification of livelihood options, and disaster risk management can improve the situation of climate refugees. It’s true that Bangladesh is facing a funding crisis in order to address climate change issues. As a result, the increased NGO involvement with climate refugees is not remarkable.
The climate refugee crisis can be solved by the government of Bangladesh by working on policy formulation targeting climate refugees so that they have enough income opportunity with an inclusive disaster risk management approach.
ALAM, AL-EMRUN GARJON and JULHAS. 18 August 2022. Climate Migration: Flooding Forces Bangladesh family to flee. Newspaper, AP news. https://apnews.com/article/floods-bangladesh-dhaka-jewel-420620595a7e5229ef539f6e27ea085f.
ALAM, JULHAS. 27 July 2022. For climate migrants in Bangladesh, town offers new life. Newspaper, AP News. https://apnews.com/article/immigration-climate-science-business-environment-f12044741514a62ca3f4fd692bf006d0.
Writer: Md. Ziaul Hoque, Mphil Researcher, University of Chittagong
BDST: 1313 HRS, DEC 08, 2022