Effects of climate change on women in coastal areas
SuvhaKusum's house which was flooded by 'Aila' is in the Khulna district. She used to live Srinagar village, which is under Dakopa upazilla's, Kamarkhola union.
Now she is living in a slam made on the dam. Her husband has gone to other village for searching work. Suvakusum said, "The river has snatched away our house and everything. Now we live on the dam with my husband and children. Where shall we eat and live is uncertain."
Male people, living on the dam has gone to Bagherhat and Gopalgonj for work. Now everybody is women on the dam. They are working as a day labour here or working in the crab boat or fishing boat. Many of them are trying to grow vegetables for their necessity. But work is not found all time. Bangladesh is one of the natural riskiest countries in the world because of her global position. We have to face flood, draught, river erosion, cyclone, and many other natural calamities. Global position, over population, and natural calamity is greatly responsible for the risk of the country. Nevertheless climate change creates these problems more complex. In recent years, natural calamity especially flood, cyclone, tornado, river erosion, saltiness, over heat, and cold has increased alarmingly. Because of these natural calamity human and their livelihood has fallen in a great risk. At the same time infrastructure and asset has also destroyed. Long lasting cyclone 'Aila' attacked with great speed in coastal district Satkhira and Khulna in May 25, 2009. Large area has been flooded breaking the dam of the river.1.5 lakh people became homeless. After Aila, rainy season started. Dams could not be repaired because of the rise of the river water. Homeless people took shelter on the dam. Aisha Khanom, President of Bangladesh Mohila Somiti said, "Although govt has managed sufficient relief goods, crisis of pure drinking water and medical facilities has remained. It effects greatly on women and children.
A doctor is no found in two villages. According to daily newspaper last two or three months 250 people died due to breeding pain, diarrhea, cholera, heart disease, malnutrition and many other disease at Padma Pukur union (Shamnogor). Most of them are women. According to German watch and UN climate report Maple craft of UK and Professor Carolyn Sulivan, Bangladesh is on the riskiest of all countries in this regard. Naturally women and children suffer most. Total poor peoples' 87per cents are women and their responsibility is cooking, looking after cattle collecting drinking water, looking after trees and crops. Due to climate change sufferer women's collecting water and house hold works presser has increased and decreased taking nutritious food. According to UNFPA report, "Global worming has greatly effect on pregnant women and teenage girls breeding health." At the time of natural calamity, women's death is 14per cent more than men. The cyclone in 1991, 1 lakh, 40 thousand people were died among them 77per cent were women. Cyclone "Aila" attacked in 2009, sufferer 73per cent were women. Dakopa Upazila's, Kamarkhola and Sutarkhali union destroyed most in cyclone Aila.
The research of CEGIS based on Posur River coast, reported that, "the people of this area take salt more than 16 gram from underground water and foods, which is much more then the limit given by WHO. A research was done based on 350 pregnant women whose age between 13 to 45 at Dakopa Upazila in 2009-10. The report showed that women's many disease like high blood pressure, uterus burning, birth time grimace, abortion, giving birth immature children have been increased. In this "Aila" destructed area crisis of pure drinking water is so severe that they have to bring water from 7 to 10 miles away. Because of hard work only for collecting drinking water women's giving birth die children is the highest in the southern part of the country. Women and children become sexual harassed when they walk on the dam made for cultivating shrimp (biggest cause of saltiness made by human being) for collecting pure drinking water. Because of the increase of natural calamity, family planning and breeding health is not found in the risky area. As tube well and toilet is submerged in water women face a great problem.
In the temporary shelter centre, unsafe environment and limited emergency help causes great danger for the breeding health of women. After calamity a large number of people have to leave there house for the safety of women and children. In this time normally local income is stopped. As a result male members have to leave their house for earning money. In this time women lead inhuman life with their children. Professor Dr. Mahbuba Nasrin, director of Institute of disaster management and vulnerability studies the same scene is seen in Khulna, Satkhira, Barisal, Vhola and other coastal area. Every family has 6-8 children and many women are pregnant. There is no birth control system. They show the cause that every year natural calamity and flood is normal affair in their life; they have to lose many of their dearest sons too. They have belief and eagerness on many children. Some of them will be lost and some of them survive. It is surprising to here the hard reality but it is true. In any natural calamity women, children and age old people suffer much. So in affected area more than one marriage is not a new event. Thousands of people have not been settled for long four years. Aila sufferer peoples cry is heard from south-west coastal area till now. Remorse is seen everywhere for foods, clothing and drinking water. All destroying Aila has been destroying Gabura and padmapukur unions thousands of people and their belongings till now.
Saiyada Rezwana Hasan, admin officer of Bangladesh Poribesh Ainbid Samity (BELA) said, "Natural calamity is increased due to climate change. At the time of this great destruction gender discrimination is seen. Everybody's target is to rescue man if a woman is drowned what is the lose. At the time of SIDR a girl said everybody rescued my father but my mother and sister plotted away."Asia Begum, age old woman of Sutar Khali village said, "At childhood I came to Khulna with my grandmother from Char fasion, Vhola losing my parents, till today my sufferings is not ended." When we asked Porimol Mondol about weather, he questioned us if we wanted to know about green house effect. That means this symbolic word has reached in Sutarkhal point. Porimol said, "Why it is happened we don't know, but we know weather is destroying and we here the lower area will go under water." Do you believe this? His easier answer, as the scientists said we have to believe this. Srinogor, Sutar khali's Asia Begum and Suvakusum do not know the fact. Daily life is their best known.
Written by Yasmin Reema, Precident- Bangladeh Sangbadik Samitte, Comilla