Climate refugees in Bangladesh | DW Documentary

DW Documentary – Mar 20, 2019

Within the next 30 years, up to 20% of Bangladesh will disappear beneath the water as rivers and sea levels rise. This will put as many as 30 million people on the move.

Climate researchers say it’s just the first manifestation of a process that will soon be happening all over the world. This film takes us on a journey to the Bangladesh of the future, a country that’s set to suffer terribly from climate change. The Meghna River has already turned into a torrent that’s nine kilometers wide in places, a mass of moving water that flows ten times faster than the Rhine. “It demolished the house I moved into as a bride,” Momtaj Begum says. “It’s where I gave birth to my four children. It breaks my heart.” She and her son are saving what they can before the river sweeps everything relentlessly into the sea. Her village looks like a battlefield. The Meghna has cut deep into the ground, and is literally ripping the soil away beneath the residents’ feet.

Momtaj Begum and her family of eight have already been turned into climate refugees. Her village was swallowed by the river, along with many others. Around 2,000 displaced people like her arrive in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka every day. With a population topping 20 million and a crumbling infrastructure, the city is on the verge of collapse. The climate refugees that arrive here are now forcibly moved on again, this time by the government. Shantytowns are destroyed by police raids and bulldozers. And what’s happening in Bangladesh is only the beginning. Before long, every country in the world will begin to notice the effects of rising sea levels.

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