Friday, May 04, 2007

Latest global warming first: Climate refugees face mass exodus

Last year we heard of Shishmaref, an Alaskan Inuit village that had to relocate, and Puvirnituq, in Northern Quebec where igloos are no longer viable, but Bangladesh has 140 million people

"Bangladesh is nature's laboratory on disaster management," said Ainun Nishat, Bangladesh representative of the World Conservation Union and a government adviser on climate change. As temperatures rise and more severe weather takes hold worldwide, "this is one of the countries that is going to face the music most," he said.

Bangladesh is hardly the only low-lying nation facing tough times as the world warms. But scientists say it in many ways represents climate change's "perfect storm" of challenges because it is extremely poor, extremely populated and extremely susceptible.

ANTARPARA, Bangladesh -- Muhammad Ali, a wiry 65-year-old, has never driven a car, run an air conditioner or done much of anything that produces greenhouse gases. But on a warming planet, he is on the verge of becoming a climate refugee.

In the past 10 years the farmer has had to tear down and move his tin-and-bamboo house five times to escape the encroaching waters of the huge Jamuna River, swollen by severe monsoons that scientists believe are caused by global warming and greater glacier melt in the Himalayas.

Now the last of his land is gone, and Ali squats on a precarious piece of government-owned riverbank -- the only ground available -- knowing the river probably will take that as well once the monsoons start this month.

"Where we are standing, in five days it will be gone," he predicts. "Our future thinking is that if this problem is not taken care of, we will be swept away."
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1 comment:

Badoo said...

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