Sci-Tech

Sea rise forces thousands out of Sunderbans

The rising sea level and increasing salinity have deprived the people living in core Sunderbans areas of their main sources of livelihood: agriculture and fishing. Here vast farmlands are lie fallow due to salination after cyclone Aila on May 25, 2009.   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

A rapid rise in sea level and salinity in the Sunderbans has triggered migration of inhabitants from several blocks in the forest to other parts of the country.

“Human habitation in several blocks of the Sunderbans has witnessed migration in the last few years to other parts of the country on account of the rise in sea level and salinity in water,” a senior consultant with the World Bank, Sanjay Gupta, told PTI. The migration of people from Sunderbans - the world’s largest mangrove forest - has in turn brought about a change in the socio-economic condition of the area.

According to a World Bank report, two kinds of migration are taking place: seasonal and permanent. “It is true migration is taking place in several parts of the Sunderbans and if this is not checked by using the resources for capacity building of the inhabitants, it could lead to massive migration in the coming years,” WWF consultant on Sunderbans Ratul Saha told PTI.

Nearly 30 per cent of households have a family member who migrates in search of work, according to the World Bank report. According to Mr. Saha, the rising sea level and increasing salinity have deprived the people living in core Sunderbans areas of their main sources of livelihood: agriculture and fishing.

“Due to rise in the sea level, large parcels of agricultural land have gone under water and the rising level of salinity has brought down the quantity of fishes,” Mr. Saha said. More than 7,000 people have already been displaced in the last 30 years due to climate change and 70,000 more people are at a high risk of displacement, Mr. Saha said citing a WWF report.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Aila in 2009, Sonargoan village – one of the worst hit - has faced severe migration with most of the families having migrated to Kolkata. “After Aila, we are yet to get back to the mainstream. Our fields are not yet fit for cultivation. The yield of fish has come down too. So in order to survive most of the male members have either migrated alone to other parts of the country or with his entire family,” said Satinath, a 50-year-old resident of Sonargaon.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 11:39:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/sea-rise-forces-thousands-out-of-sunderbans/article7023772.ece

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