Photo Essays | Environment | South Asia

Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

Climate change has particularly profound implications for Bangladesh.

By Probal Rashid for
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

A flood-affected man stands on high land, waiting for a boat.

Credit: Probal Rashid
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

A family trapped by the flood water at Tala, Satkhira.

Credit: Probal Rashid
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

A boy with his goat. The muddy water at his feet is saline and wholly undrinkable.

Credit: Probal Rashid
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

People work to repair the embankment designed to protect their island from river erosion. Satkhira, Bangladesh.

Credit: Probal Rashid
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

Ishak Hawladar (age 95), lost his land due to river erosion. Morrelganj, Bagerhat.

Credit: Probal Rashid
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

People gather to collect drinking water from a reverse-osmosis plant set up by a local NGO. Despite the excess of water, clean drinking water can be hard to find.

Credit: Probal Rashid
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

In one of the flood affected areas a man is sleeping in the temporarily built house made of bamboo and plastic sheet. Satkhira, Bangladesh.

Credit: Probal Rashid
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

A woman catches small fish with a net at Shyamnagar, Satkhira. Thousands of men and women go into the Sundarbans forest in Southern Bangladesh every day to gather honey, collect firewood, or catch fish or crabs, putting themselves at risk of a tiger attack.

Credit: Probal Rashid
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

Flood-affected people take shelter in a temporary structure made of bamboo and plastic sheets. Satkhira, Bangladesh

Credit: Probal Rashid
Climate Crisis in Bangladesh

Daily-wage workers sleep on the roadside by the Kawran Bazar in Dhaka. A large number of the city’s homeless population are environmental migrants. They arrive in Dhaka with hope of a better future.

Credit: Probal Rashid

Of all the countries in the world, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The regular and severe natural hazards that already batter the country – tropical cyclones, river erosion, flood, landslides and drought – are all set to increase in intensity and frequency as a result of climate change. Rising sea levels will increasingly inundate Bangladesh’s coast, and dramatic coastal and river erosion will destroy land and homes. These and the many other adverse effects of climate change will have profound repercussions for the economy and development of the country.

One of the most dramatic impacts will be the forced movement of people throughout Bangladesh as a result of losing their homes, lands, property and livelihoods to the effects of climate change. While it is impossible to predict with complete accuracy how many people will be displaced by climate change, the best current estimates state that rising sea levels alone will displace 18 million Bangladeshis within the next 40 years. The vast majority of these people will be displaced domestically – not across international borders – presenting the government with enormous challenges, particularly when it comes to finding places to live and work for those who have been displaced.

Probal Rashid is a documentary photographer and photojournalist working in Bangladesh. He is represented by Zuma Press.