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Stories on the impact of climate change on Bangladeshi peoples

Kelly-Dent  by Kelly Dent

Here in Australia 2013 has just been declared the hottest year ever on record. The Bureau of meteorology says climate change is a contributing factor. The same is true for the over 100 unseasonal Spring fires which raged across NSW from August to November, the scale and severity of these fires was immense. The Intergovernmental panel on climate change (the IPCC) says climate change may lead to an increase in the frequency of wildfires and the likelihood that they will be bigger in size and intensity.

Bangladesh is a country that is significantly impacted by climate change, even though like many developing countries they did little to cause it. Each month this column will bring the story about how a changing climate has impacted on people and their communities across Bangladesh. The stories are told in the voices of the people affected. This week’s story is Burnt Paddy it comes from a report titled Wither Happiness by Sirajul Islam Abed (2011).

Climate_Change_in_Bangladesh

Rawshan Ara, is a 40 year old woman who lives in College Para, Boda, Panchagarh in the far North West of Bangladesh. The area is an alluvial fan created by the Tista river interacting with the foothills of the Himalayas resulting in the build-up of sediment. Recent changes to the climate in this region have included a change in rainfall patters which have increase during the monsoon and decreased during the winter, a temperature increase in both the monsoon season and in winter and increased humidity. These changes have led to decreased crop production, especially of rice, wheat and potato, with hotter temperatures and less rain in winter it is likely this area will become increasingly barren affecting not only food production but also the rearing of livestock.

Rashwan Ara says:
I am a sharecropper and don’t have any land of my own. But the contract forces me to give up half my harvest to the landlord. My IRII [rice paddy] was on the verge of complete destruction because of the drought. But we finally saw some rain by the grace of Almighty. Sometimes the cold burns the paddy.
We don’t get good harvests anymore. As a result [having] a decent life has become a matter of struggle. Earlier I used to work at home only but now I have to work in the fields too. But all these efforts are failing to bring me fortune. We are gradually dying. The weather used to be predictable and we used to harvest crops timely in the past. But nowadays the problem has gotten far worse.
Hard work has never been a problem. But the temperature is rising every day. Nowadays it has become difficult to work the fields due to the heat. We become tired easily. On the other had the temperature dips in the winters. Thick fog hangs in the air and settles on the rice field, lowering production. We cannot say when it will rain anymore.
I recall there had been westerly winds blowing during the summer. But currently it does not. The weird weather is causing different kinds of diseases too.

About The Author

Kelly Dent heads Oxfam Australia’s Economic Justice team, which is currently working on Oxfam’s food justice campaign which covers forced land acquisitions, small-scale producers, climate change and food price volatility. Her portfolio also covers trade and corporate accountability. She has been involved in the climate negotiations since September 2009.

She has extensive expertise and experience in gender issues, labour rights, supply chain management and business and human rights. Kelly has been published and campaigned internationally on these issues. And has spent almost a decade living in and working on many of these issues in developing countries, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Kelly also describes herself as a Yogi. Life Adventurer. Into cycling, photography and veggie gardening. She enjoys writing about everything and her writing for Sangbad is in a personal capacity.

  by Kelly Dent Here in Australia 2013 has just been declared the hottest year ever on record. The Bureau of meteorology says climate change is a contributing factor. The same is true for the over 100 unseasonal Spring fires which raged across NSW from August to November, the scale and severity of these fires was immense. The Intergovernmental panel on climate change (the IPCC) says climate change may lead to an increase in the frequency of wildfires and the likelihood that they will be bigger in size and intensity. Bangladesh is a country that is significantly impacted by climate…

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