Bangladesh has a population of 167 million people and will only keep growing. Despite producing just 0.56% of global emissions, Bangladesh is currently facing a climate emergency as it is ranked the seventh on the list of countries most vulnerable to climate devastation according to Germanwatch’s 2021 Global Climate Risk Index.
Data shows that from 2000 to 2019, Bangladesh suffered economic losses worth $3,72 billion and witnessed 185 extreme weather events as a result of climate change.
Battle of survival in Bangladesh
Being one of the poorest and overpopulated countries, Bangladesh is currently vulnerable to environmental devastation. Due to monsoons, Bangladesh suffers from extreme cyclones, droughts, and heavy rainfall, leaving many areas flooded and displaced. This leaves millions of people's homes destroyed and many left homeless. According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, by 2050 sea levels will rise by a high percentage, which will cause a severe impact and potentially, in many decades to come, the country could be underwater.
The country heavily relies on fishing and farming for produce to keep, sell or maintain. Hence, this country is already facing extreme poverty and a financial crisis, and many won't receive the help required to recover.
The access to healthcare is utterly inadequate and affects most who live in slums and overcrowded housing and accommodation which is around 5.3 million people. Many slums are near riversides, which leaves dirty and contaminated water and waste scattered around their homes, which eventually causes residents to fall ill. Therefore, the lack of healthcare availability becomes a significant problem.
Climate change in Bangladesh is also affecting the labour market. A significant number of people in Bangladesh are unemployed, which leaves low or no income; therefore, it lacks providing finance in schooling for children, putting food on the table, and generally having basic living and hygiene standards.
It is highly problematic, according to Aljazeera, many rely on ponds and rivers which are often highly contaminated and polluted, to bathe.
“My children can't tolerate this water, they suffer from stomach problems, diarrhoea, and dysentery and they feel sick all the time."
As UNICEF describes
“Around 12 million of the children most affected [by climate change] live in and around the powerful river systems which flow through Bangladesh and regularly burst their banks. The most recent major flooding of the Brahmaputra River in 2017 inundated at least 480 community health clinics and damaged some 50,000 tube wells, essential for meeting communities’ safe water needs.”
Climate change is making rainfall more erratic and more intense - a reality faced in Bangladesh. The rising temperatures melting the Himalayan glaciers that feed the rivers around Bangladesh leave massive swaths of the country prone to devastating floods. The climate crisis means that over 10 million Bangladeshis are already climate refugees. It is estimated that up to 50% of those living in Bangladesh’s urban slums may be there because they had to flee their rural homes due to the riverbank flooding.
The destruction comes with little support from developed nations, and all the while Bangladesh bears the brutal costs of climate change, the impact of this crisis have become a severe humanitarian crisis.