For generations, Paban Baroi’s family have guarded a temple to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, until Bangladesh’s mighty Padma River wreaked havoc of its own, wiping out the shrine, their home, and 200 other houses of their village.
The 70-year-old and his neighbours are amongst hundreds within the country who will likely be rendered destitute this 12 months as surging waters and eroding lands reshape the landscape – a phenomenon made worse by climate change.
In the future in September, the waterway abruptly modified course and a swath of the tight-knit community in Baroi’s village vanished because the land it stood on was washed away.
“The river current was so powerful,” he said. “Lots of us have been living under the open sky for the previous few days.”
“It has been a thriving community of carpenters, fishermen, farmers and traders,” said Sohrab Hossain Pir, a councillor for the village. “But now all the pieces goes into the river.”
Bangladesh is a delta country crisscrossed by greater than 200 waterways, each connected to the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers that course from the Himalayas through the South Asian subcontinent.
Periodic flooding that inundates homes, markets and schools has at all times been a fact of life for the tens of hundreds of thousands of farmers and fishermen who crowd the rivers’ banks, a few of the most densely populated areas of the Bangladeshi countryside.
Scientists say climate change has increased the severity and frequency of the phenomenon, with more erratic rainfall causing more cyclones and flash floods.
This 12 months, Bangladesh saw record flooding that killed greater than 100 people and cut off seven million others, with relief efforts continuing for months.
The impact is anticipated to worsen significantly in the approaching a long time, just as rising sea levels threaten to displace tens of hundreds of thousands of individuals along the low-lying Bangladeshi coastline and inundate its most fertile farmlands with salt water.
Bangladesh is already rated by the United Nations and civil society groups as one in all the countries most affected by extreme weather events because the turn of the century, with entire inland villages wiped from the map.
About 1,800 hectares (4,500 acres) of land will likely be eroded by rivers in Bangladesh this 12 months and the homes of at the very least 10,000 people will disappear, in response to the state-funded Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS).
Residents of disappeared villages often seek a latest life within the slums of Dhaka, a sprawling city of twenty-two million that has doubled in size because the turn of the century on the back of urban migration.
“Lots of these people have been displaced by climate change-related reasons,” Ian Fry, UN special rapporteur on climate change, said in a press release that highlighted endemic child malnutrition, a scarcity of secure drinking water and high rates of human trafficking.
Bangladesh will present a national plan to assist manage increasing natural disasters and extreme weather calamities triggered by climate change at November’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt.
That features keeping river erosion to roughly 1,000 hectares per 12 months – still the scale of a big international airport.
On the summit, Dhaka will appeal to leaders of developed nations for urgent funding – it estimates a staggering $230bn is required by 2050 to mitigate the impact of climate change on the country.
“It is evident to me the burden of the climate change shouldn’t be carried by Bangladesh alone,” said Fry, adding that richer nations with higher levels of historical emissions should help foot the bill.
“For too long, countries have denied their responsibility for the sufferings they’ve caused,” he said. “They ought to be paying for this.”
In Bangla Bazar, Baroi and his family were yet to search out shelter every week after losing their home, while a few of his neighbours took refuge in cowsheds.
Those who still have a roof over their heads fretted over where they are going to turn when the Padma swallows more land.
“I don’t need to go anywhere,” Baroi said. “But when the river devours the whole village, what’s going to occur? Where will we go?”