BHOLA: Water, water and water everywhere when you look around. But, about 60,000 people have been living in a small and isolated island – Char Jahir Uddin – in the Bay of Bengal with high risk of extreme climate events, reports BSS.
It is really a difficult task to go to the hard-to-reach area since an engine-run boat is the only means of going there. One and half hour is needed to go to Char Jahir Uddin by the engine-run boat from Tazumuddin Upazila of Bhola district. Only one boat shuttles from Char Jahir Uddin to Tazumuddin Ghat in a day while the rest of the time the Char people remain isolated from the mainland amid the risk of cyclone and tidal surge.Like many others, once Razia Begum was at plight when she along her eight-member family came to Char Jahir Uddin about 19 years back, losing her home and all belongings at Tazumuddin Upazila to riverbank erosion.
“When we came to the Char, we had nothing to start a new life. We collected hogla pata (elephant grass) from the char and made different types of mats and sold those to fishermen. That time, we never thought of eating meals three times in a day. I thought how we would pass the days,” said Raiza, a mother of six children.
As her day-labourer husband often failed to manage a work in the highly vulnerable island, she said, they had to strive every day apart from facing natural disasters like cyclone and storm surge.
But, the fortune of her family was changed after they were brought under the ‘Fish-Fruit-Forest (FFF) model of the Integrating community-based adaptation into Afforestation and Reforestation Programme jointly introduced by UNDP Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Forest Department.