Around 80 per cent of the people of Mongla in Bagerhat and 70 per cent of Shyamnagar in Satkhira on the southwestern coast are afraid of being displaced from their homes for imminent natural disasters.
The research findings carried out by the Centre for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD) described the degree of women’s vulnerability to the climate change in the southwestern coastal region of Bangladesh at a seminar titled “Climate Injustice Vs Gender Justice: Why Should this Matter?” at a city hotel in the capital on Thursday.
According to the field survey, the women affected by climate change variability are forced to bribe (Tk 1,000-5,000) the local influential to have access to the government and non-government support schemes.
The study was based on a mixed research approach, incorporating primary data through 260 semi-structured questionnaire surveys (143 in Mongla and 117 in Shyamnagar), 15 Focus Group Discussions (5 in Mongla and 10 in Shyamnagar; 14 to 18 participants in each FGD), and 17 case stories.
The study revealed that the scarcity of fresh water has been set to an acute level in the south west coastal region.
Moreover, every woman is found to suffer from different health problems due to continuous exposure to saline water while a vast majority of them have been bearing the brunt of reproductive health problems and many have lost their uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, the study revealed.
Md Shamsuddoha, chair of the event, said climate change implications on the lives and livelihoods of the people are enormous and multidimensional.
The degree of individual’s vulnerability to a disaster is a set of gender, race, caste, ethnicity, geographical location and financial solvency to recover, he added.
“To cope with the scarcity and meet daily demands for household consumptions, women are likely to travel distant places and faces a wide range of social problems such as abusive behaviour of neighbours, he said.
Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, said the study addresses the core concerns of climate change impacts and how the implications increase the risks to the each and every phases of women’s life.
“Climate change leads to many social and economic crisis in this country and urged the development activist to carry out more detailed study on this focus, particularly on the violation of human rights of the affected and marginalized community,” he said.