Bangladesh likely to face severe climate changes within 10 years


Bangladesh is likely to start experiencing the severity of the climate changes in nest eight years to 10 years in the forms of more rains, more floods and cyclones, sea-level rise, land loss and outbreak of waterborne diseases.

Development economist Dr Quazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmed said this while commenting on the Climate Change 2001 report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on /climate Change (IPCC). Ahmed is one of the key contributors from Asia to the IPCC report.

Categorising the causes of flood, Ahmed said there are internal, external and oceanic reasons that altogether have made Bangladesh more flood-prone and climate changes would further contribute to those factors, reports UNB.

He said unplanned road infrastructures and silted up rivers are internal reasons of frequent flooding. Dredging can be one of the ways to reduce internal risks. Besides, future rural road infrastructures must be well planned so that networks do not obstruct normal flow of water, he advised.

“About 92 per cent of water we drain into the Day comes from outside,” he said referring to the external factors that influence floods in Bangladesh.

These factors make Bangladesh flood as regional issue that should be addressed regionally, said Ahmed , whose organization, Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad (BUP), advocates for regional water management plan involving Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

Briefly assessing the economic impact of climate changes, especially on agriculture , he said floods contribute to soil fertility. But overall loss would be much higher than the benefit, because sea-level rise would cause land loss and salinity.


Ultimately, the poor will be the worst sufferers, whatever changes occur in climate. So economic development should be focused to raise their adaptive capacity, “ he concluded.

Sea-level rise and an increase in the intensity of tropical cyclones and rains would increase flood risks and displace tens of millions of people in low-lying coastal area of temperate and tropical Asia, said the climate change forecast for the current century.

Such climate changes, foreseen by the UN- sponsored report, would exacerbate threats to biodiversity and population pressure in Asia.

Sea-level rise will put ecological security at risk, including mangroves and coral reefs, according to the report.

Global surface temperatures increased by 0.6 degrees Celsius on average over the last century, it said.

The projections leave a catastrophic message for Bangladesh which falls in the tropical Asia.

“ One metre rise of sea level can submerge 17 per cent areas of Bangladesh,” said. AM Chowdhury, chairman of the Sparso, assessing the possible severe impact of climatic  changes in Bangladesh in the current century.

 Rise in global temperature will cause sea-level rise and increase the intensity of rains, floods and cyclones. “On the whole, natural hazards will increase in the current century, Chowdhury said.

The situation would be even worse if developed countries do not implement the Kyoto Declaration, he said adding, “they must act because climate change would not spare them even.”

Dr. Ahmed said only 0.6 degree Celsius rise of global temperature in the last century has intensified folds and other calamities in the world. “So temperature rise in the current century, as projected in the report, will certainly lead to more calamities.”

Since there is no scope for escaping those, we have to learn how better we can cope with these hazards, suggested Ahmed, who chairs the local think-tank BUP.

Local people have already learned how to live with floods, which affect 25 to 30 per cent of Bangladesh every year. Public awareness about major floods has also raised over the years, he said.

Referring to the 1998 flood, Ahmed said quick and coordinated responses of the government, people and voluntary organizations worked miracle to check deaths and reduce damages.


Source: The Financial Express, 31 July, 2001