Page 11 - Respond 2018 Magazine
P. 11


          India. A militarised fence along 70% of the 4,000 kilometre
          frontier sends an unwelcoming signal. Still, people find ways
                                                                               The number of
          to evade the patrols, typically by boat across the rivers.

                                    Zainab Begum (pictured), a
                                    40-year old woman collecting
                                    water from Gabura village       people living on the
                                    pond, across the river from
                                    Kolbari, has two younger
                                    sisters working as waste               margins of cities
                                    pickers in Tamil Nadu, a
                                                                       has doubled to 2.2
                                    southern Indian state.
          With their families, they have crossed the border illegally
          several times. It is a risky business: one got caught and was
          badly beaten by Indian border guards, detained for a week    million since 1997
          before she could bribe her way out.

          There was little to keep them in Gabura, one of the worst
          hit areas by Aila. Not a single house was left standing,
          says Begum, a fierce note in her voice. The levee that was   country. He tells Climate Home in English: “I know about
          supposed to keep the river out trapped a layer of sludgy,   climate change. When climate change in this place, we are
          salty water on the land for three whole years. She lived in   not happy.”
          a makeshift house on the embankment; others with more
          resources left permanently.                          The outlook is not all bleak. Just as farmers adapted to
                                                               fattening shrimp, now some have turned to crab, which can
          Eventually, the government helped them rebuild. A three-  tolerate higher salinity. They do not eat it round here: it is
          storey cyclone shelter stands proud at the heart of the   “haram” (forbidden) for the Muslim majority and at 250 taka
          village. But land that was previously good for one rice crop a   ($3) apiece in the market, beyond most budgets. But there
          year became too salty: now it is all shrimp.         is strong demand from China and Malaysia. A small plant in
                                                               Kolbari packs the shellfish for export.
          In this battered economy, Ziaur Rahman is trying to make
          a living teaching English and maths to private students.   The scale of migration from vulnerable areas will depend on
          With a degree from Khulna University, he shows more   the success of these adaptations, as well as the severity of
          awareness than most about the global trends affecting his   climate change impacts.

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