Trees and tender-heartedness in Borguna

by Shihab

Nowadays, migration and climate change are talked about regularly. When a person goes from one place to another, this is called migration.  My long dream was to work for the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) and these days have been some of the greatest of my life.  During the field trip, as a supervisor, my main task was to supervise and monitor the field.

First of all, RMMRU selected a team which consisted of seven members (including myself).  My first trip was to Assassuni in the Satkhira Districts.  After a long journey, we arrived but when we disembarked from the bus, we faced different types of problems that came one after another. Due to the strong bond of my team, we overcame all the problems.  Every member of the team was kind and our sophisticated thinking allowed us to handle any type of problem easily.  After Assassuni, we went to Kaligong in Satkhira which was an excellent area.  After completing our work in Kaligong, we reached Satkhira Sadar.




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As usual, we awoke early in the morning and after breakfast went to the field but didn’t find anyone.  After searching, we came to the conclusion that there was a listing problem.  So, we came back to Dhaka with the work unfinished.  After four days rest, we went to Borguna which was very enjoyable compared to the other areas.  Every village was covered with trees and informants were so friendly.  Right now we miss those people.  That was the story of two fields, they are Hoglapasha and Borguna Sadar.  Gendamara was a very different field and also difficult.  I have never seen a village as large.  There were no transport systems in the whole village and villagers are used to walking, although we are not!  We worked easily and were enthusiastic about being there.  After completing the Taltoli field, we went to Patuakhali Kalapara, after which we got a one day vacation, which we used to visit Kuakata where you can watch the sunset and sunrise.  We saw some nice nature and water.  In this same way we finished our Patuakhali Sadar and Mirjagong field.  Banajora Boufol in Patuakhali was so different from the other places.  We encountered some folks who held strong views and this created some difficulties. Still, we enjoyed a full moonlit night with the river blows which was amazing. After four days rest, we prepared to go to a new field in Chandpur, which is known for being abundant with fish.  Above all, I like to describe my happy moments, however, I think I hold this memory in the corner of my heart.  Thanks to RMMRU for this excellent trip, I eagerly await the next opportunity.

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Migration & Adaptation: A Short Story of Khulna & Jessore

by Md. Niaz Murshed

Khulna is the third largest city in Bangladesh.  It is situated on the banks of the Bhairab and Rupsha rivers. It is also the centre point of the Khulna division. Khulna is also known for its port. This division consisted of ten districts and it is the gateway to the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans.  Mangla is home to an important port for Southwest Bangladesh.  It has fabulous natural beauty but the lifestyle is not so easy here: drought, cyclone and other weather events are a regular phenomenon.  With each day, the risks increase. The local people have to fight for water on a regular basis. Khulna is also in a dangerous point because of climate change. Experts think that the future will be worse than the present.

image001 Phultola is a village in Batiaghata Upazilla near Pashur river. Most of the population is educated. Some people are living in other cities because of their studies and employment, and some are living abroad. People are mainly involved with agriculture. They are producing seasonal fruits and crops including paddy, daal, several vegetables, etc. Most of the houses are made of wood and leaves. Some people are engaged with prawn cultivation. Drought and cyclone are the main natural disasters here. Because of the saltiness in the soil, agriculture is becoming increasingly difficult.

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Saral Ward of Paikgacha Upazilla is situated in the middle of the Upazilla and most of the people are permanent residents. They are mainly engaged with business, though some people are involved with prawn cultivation.

The devastating form of nature can be seen from Amurkata , a village of Soladana Union of Paikgacha. It is situated near the river, Shibsha. The village has poor communication systems. Van, motorcycle and various local vehicles are the main medium for transport.  For 2 pots of water, village women have to go three or four kilometres away from the village.  They don’t have proper drinking water or water for daily use. Most of the people work outside of the village.  Most of them go to Gopalganj or Khulna district for a job. During cultivation, men and women work together in the field.  Amurkata has huge lakes for prawns.  Those who have smaller fields cultivate prawns and crabs. Due to saltiness in the water, they do not have any other option for cultivation. Houses are made of several leaves and soil. Because of the cyclones, there is a school which can also be used as a cyclone centre.

image003Our second place was Jessore beside Kapataksha river which is linked to the poet Michael Madhushudan Dutta.  Jessore is one of the districts of Khulna and one of the oldest cities. It has eight Upazillas. During the British Raj period, Jessore was a “mahakuma”.
Kotoali, Bagharpara , Keshobpur and Manirampur were our workplaces. Bahadurpur of Kotoali Upazila had less risks. Sekandardarpur of Bagharpara and Panjia of Keshobpur are less affected by natural disasters. Only Diganga of Manirampur has the risk of flood, but it is not because of nature, it is because of drainage problems.

After observation on four Upazillas of Jessore we found that people are mainly involved with agriculture but they work in their own fields with different vegetables, paddy, mustard, daal and wheat. They produce fruit for a commercial purpose.

To have a good lifestyle, people work in the capital city, their own divisional city or abroad. For higher education many people live in cities.

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Senior Bangladeshi policy maker visits University of Southampton

By Alexander Chapman, University of Southampton

Professor Shamsul Alam, Senior Secretary of the General Economics Division (GED), Government of Bangladesh visited the University of Southampton (24-25 August 2017) to continue our collaboration on several large delta-focused projects.

Prof Alam visit

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The severe flooding ongoing in Northern Bangladesh, which has destroyed an estimated 640,500 homes, highlights the threat the country faces from a wetter, more extreme, future climate. As head of GED Prof. Alam oversees the development strategy in Bangladesh, including the design of over 70 large projects associated with the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, the centrepiece of the country’s response to climate change.

In his meeting with Southampton’s Vice Chancellor & President, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, Prof Alam emphasised the importance of designing interventions which give consideration to the complexities of the social-ecological system of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta (GBM). In the low-lying GBM, where interactions with upstream developments, flooding and storm surges, and rural livelihoods are constantly changing actions can often have detrimental effects if not systemically analysed. Through three ongoing multi-million pound research projects the University of Southampton and its partner The Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) aim to provide integrated systems modelling support to the government. Our work will help stakeholders, drawn from a cross section of society, understand the impacts of future policy trajectories.

On day one of the visit Prof Robert Nicholls, Principle Investigator of the ESPA Deltas project, reported on our progress evaluating two of GED’s key coastal zone projects. The team are currently calibrating the ESPA Deltas model, ΔDIEM, ready to simulate development of large-scale coastal embankments and natural buffers in the Southwest region. In March 2018 ESPA Deltas will report on the poverty, livelihood, and ecosystem service implications of various different options being looked at in the Delta Plan. Looking forward, the DECCMA project, which has also placed great emphasis on stakeholder engagement, hopes to provide insight into different migration and adaptation policy trade-offs in the coastal region. Prof Alam is Chair of the Bangladesh National Advisory Expert Group within the DECCMA project – a group of key stakeholders that provides high level direction to the project.

On day two we discussed the projects’ legacies. In October Southampton will host a further representative from GED, as well as two researchers from BUET, as we aim to build in-country capacity to run and best utilise ΔDIEM and other integrated models for policy evaluation. Both building knowledge sharing and capacity building into ongoing projects, and ensuring a pipeline of technical and research projects into the future are important objectives for GED, who have strong ambitions for poverty reduction and livelihood improvement in Bangladesh. The team spent a productive afternoon with Ken de Souza of DFID discussing how to build legacy for the current work which, it is hoped, is only a test case to demonstrate what is possible with collaboration on integrated systems research projects.

It was a pleasure to welcome Prof. Alam to Southampton, his passion for achieving ambitious poverty reduction goals in such a challenging context, and his openness to challenging conventional approaches to policy were impressive. We look forward to working together further and playing our part in building in-country capacity which will hopefully serve Bangladesh long beyond the lifetime of our research there (which, with a bit of funding luck, still has a good few years left in it!).

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The lengths one must go for drinking water

by Aysha Akter Akhi

image003I went to Noakhali, Laxmipur, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jessore, and Gopalgonj for field surveys for the DECCMA project and gained so many experiences from this journey.  Among them, I can share the place called Amurkata of Paikgacha of the Khulna district where there is a scarcity of drinking water. This area of six or seven kilometres has no internal transport. People paddle from one part to another. The ground in that area is high in salinity. There are also very few trees and the weather is quite rough. People often travel three of four kilometres by foot to collect drinking water from a deep well which is placed in a “Local Bazaar.” Every day in the morning or evening, they go with one or two jars to collect water. In today’s age, this scenario is shocking to see.image001

Working with RMMRU on DECCMA; The memories I will not forget

by Rafiqul Islam, Research Assistant (RMMRU)

Life is full of experiences and I want to share my experience about the journey to perform research with RMMRU and about the memorable time I spent with my colleagues.

First, I want to give thanks to my Lord because I think I am so lucky to work with RMMRU for a few months. In those few months I have learned many things from RMMRU and from my colleagues.



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First, I went to Chandpur, Lakshmipur and Bhola to conduct household listing surveys. We faced some accommodation problems. My colleagues were very supportive and helpful to me as we overcame all sorts of problems regarding staying, eating, and travelling. I was one of the younger members of the team, so I received love from my senior brothers.  I am a jolly-minded person, so I can communicate with my respondents and my colleagues spontaneously but when we had to do the surveys, we had faced some problems because we had no female members in the group. When we reached each household, a few people were reluctant to participate in our survey but generally the majority were very helpful to us in our research. After completing these surveys, we returned to Dhaka.

In April, we left Dhaka again for another round of field work and to conduct interviews with selected respondents. This time I was in a new group. Our journey was good and we had 7 members on our team, including me. My partner was Tamanna Apu. Frankly speaking, at first I was not comfortable with her because her way of thinking and my way of thinking was a little bit different. Gradually we understood each other’s work and we became good friends for the purpose of the work. My other team members including Musabbir Bhai, Saiful and Roni Bhai, Ridita and Popy Apu were too good.  We had two members replacing Roni Bhai and Saiful were Himel and Tanjim Bhai. They were also friendly.  Every morning the females got up early in the morning, got ready quickly and were waiting for us.  All of these moments were so memorable for me and made for a very friendly work environment. This friendly attitude among the team members was not limited to the work but also in all spheres, generally, we got along as a team. I really will not forget those days.

Another memorable day was visiting our field work by Ricardo and Rocky Bhai in Lakshmipur.  I was little bit sick and nervous that day because Rocky Bhai scolded us for our mistake. At that moment I was sad but after, I realised that it was my fault. I always respect and love Rocky Bhai from the core of my heart undoubtedly. A most horrible experience occurred on 28th May 2016.  On that day we started our journey from Lakshmipur sadar to Bhola on a trawler ship, when suddenly a storm began.  All of us had begun to fear for our lives, but by the grace of almighty Allah we made it through. We have finished our journey through some ups and downs but in the end, the experience left me with one of the more significant memories in my life.

It was a great opportunity for me to work with a reputed organisation like RMMRU. Finally, I want to thank all the members of RMMRU.

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Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka

Prof. Md. Munsur Rahman

Munsur Rahman newProfessor Md. Munsur Rahman, during his 24-year professional career, has conducted research on morphological processes in tidal and non-tidal rivers, growth of char land resources and livelihood strategies, river-bank erosion protection and social response. Currently, he is leading several international collaborative research projects focusing on ecosystem service-poverty alleviation linkages, climate change vulnerability and adaptation in deltaic settings, and disaster prevention/mitigation measures against floods and storm surges, in which the fundamental approach integrated assessment of bio-physical and socio-economic processes.  He is the Principal Investigator and lead for Work Package 5 on DECCMA.

Prof. Mashfiques Salehin

Mashfiques Salehin newProfessor Mashfiqus Salehin has been working in both technical and interdisciplinary research areas, focusing on a variety of issues, including basin scale hydrologic modelling, hydrodynamics of exchange processes between river and groundwater, hydro geologic analysis of coastal aquifers, groundwater and seawater intrusion modelling, flood hazard, vulnerability and risk analysis, harmonisation of multiple uses of water resources, assessment of ecosystem service-poverty alleviation linkages, biophysical vulnerability of coastal hazards and implications to water and food security, and trans boundary river water management.  He is the Deputy Principal Investigator and lead on Work Package 1 for DECCMA.

Md. Anisur Rahman Majumdar

Anisur Rahman MajumdarMd. Anisur Rahman Majumdar is the Bangladesh Project Coordinator for DECCMA. Prior to this, Anis worked in different national and international organisations in administrative sectors and has completed his MBA at the University of Wales, Institute of Cardiff, in International Business.  He is working on Work Package 0 for DECCMA.


Prof. Rezaur Rahman

Rezaur Rahman newDr. Rezaur Rahman is a Professor at the Institute of Water and Flood Management at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He is a Civil Engineer by discipline with a research focus on water and environment. He was involved in the preparation of National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA), Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) and UNFCCC 2nd country communication.  Professor Rahman is acting co-lead for DECCMA’s Work Package 6, which will identify and evaluate feasible and acceptable planned and autonomous adaptations in the three deltas.

more about Rezaur

Prof. Anisul Haque

Anisul Haque newProf. Anisul Haque is a Civil Engineer at BUET, Bangladesh specialising in Computational Fluid Dynamics. In his Ph.D from K.U. Leuven, Belgium, he worked on turbulence in stratified tidal medium. His main research interests are marine and estuarine processes, delta dynamics, basic hydraulics and numerical models. At present, he is working as a Professor at IWFM, BUET.  In DECCMA, he is working in Work Package 2 where he is the joint country lead. The main objective of this Work Package is to understand and map biophysical factors affecting vulnerability. Under this objective, Hot Spot maps showing out migration for present day condition and for future climatic scenarios will be developed.

Prof. A Fazal M Saleh

Fazal Saleh.jpgProf. A. Fazal M. Saleh is a water resources engineer with interest in irrigation and water management. He is involved in Work Package 2 which deals with characterising the bio-physical impacts of climate change on agricultural production systems and land-use.


Prof. Shahjahan Mondal

Shahjahan MondalProfessor Shahjahan Mondal specialises in climate change and hydrology, agricultural water management, risk-based planning and water governance, has been involved in several national and regional collaborative action research and consultancy projects focusing peri-urban water security, urban vulnerability and adaptive capacity, disaster impact on agricultural value chain, and technical and socio-economic aspects of flood shelters. He has received formal training in IWRM and interdisciplinary field research methodology. Professor Mondal is mostly involved in Work Package 6, which is on adaptation, and currently looking at the adaptation practices in the GBM Delta. He is also involved in the governance component of Work Package 2.

Prof. Mohammed Abed Hossain

Abed HossainProf. Mohammed Abed Hossain is an environmental engineer with interest primarily on transport of pollutants in a multi-cascade system and climate change impact on environment. He has been involved in researches on industrial waste treatment, stochastic hydrological modelling, modelling of residual flow and salinity, etc. During his PhD at University of Tokyo, Abed investigated the competitive adsorption mechanisms of heavy metals in soil and sediments. Abed is a co-researcher in DECCMA’s Work Package 6. He is also involved in DECCMA’s Work Package 2 where he will deal with the GAEZ database development and maintenance, and handle meta data for the Bangladesh team. He is also involved in Work Package 1 in limited capacity.

Rashedul Islam

Rashedul IslamMd. Rashedul Islam has completed his B.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering at BUET. He is currently pursuing his M.Sc. degree in Environmental Engineering in BUET.  He is the project coordinator of the ESPA Deltas for Bangladesh.  Rashed is working as a co-investigator in DECCMA’s Work Package 2 on hotspot map analysis and to quantify vulnerability weightage for various climate change parameter issues.

Momtaz Jahan

Momtaz JahanMomtaz Jahan is a Water Resources Engineer from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. She worked on the dumping characteristics of bank protection materials in her undergraduate thesis. She has worked on ESPA Deltas Project and Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre. Currently her main research interest is around different climate change issues in the water related sector.  Momtaz Jahan is a Masters fellow and working for Work Packages 2 and 5.

Rubaiya Kabir

Rubaiya KabirRubaiya Kabir is a PhD Civil Engineering from the Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), Bangladesh. Her research study was on the Management of Buriganga Watershed as a Bachelors degree thesis. Rubaiya has worked on ESPA Deltas Project in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) as a Research Assistant. Her keen interest is to work and research in the water sector.  Rubaiya is a Masters fellow and working onDECCMA’s Work Package 2.

Debanjali Saha

Debanjali SahaDebanjali Saha completed her B.Sc. degree in Water Resources Engineering at BUET. She is currently pursuing her M.Sc. degree in Water Resources Development in IWFM, BUET. She is conducting research on the prospect of dry season crops in the south-western coastal area of Bangladesh under climate change scenarios.  Debanjali is working as a co-investigator in DECCMA’s Work Package 6.

Muhammad Shahriar Shafayet Hossain

Muhammad Shahriar Shafayet HossainMuhammad Shahriar Shafayet Hossain is a Masters Student of Water Resources Development in IWFM (BUET). He has graduated in Water Resources Engineering from BUET in 2014. His undergraduate thesis title is “A Study on the Morphological Changes of Rivers Around Vicinity of Chandpur Town & Assessment of Its Bank Protection Works”. His main fields of interest are River Engineering, Hydraulic Modelling and Coastal Zone Management. He is a Research Assistant, working on Work Package 6 for the DECCMA Project.

Rabeya Akter

Rubaiya AkterRabeya Akter is working as a Research Assistant in Work Package 2 of the DECCMA project. Her research interests lie in the field of climate change related issues, remote sensing and GIS and Hydraulic and numeric modelling. Prior to this, she worked as a Research Assistant on a Post Graduate Disaster Management Program (PPDM) at BRAC University. She graduated from the Urban and Regional Planning Department of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

Shanjida Noor

Shanjida NoorShanjida Noor is completing her post graduation in Water Resource Development at the Institute of Water and Flood Management (BUET). Prior to this she completed her graduation in Environmental Science from the Asian University for Women. Her thesis work was on ‘Introducing feasible waste water treatment processes in Bangladesh using Trametes versicolor, sugarcane bagasse and water hyacinth“.  She has intense research interest on climate change issues, adaptation strategies, hydraulic and numeric modelling, remote sensing and GIS.  She is working as a DECCEMA research fellow on Fluvio-Tidal Flood and Survey Component (Work Package 2).

Meer Ahemed Tariqul Omar

Tariq Omar newMeer Ahemed Tariqul Omar, PhD Fellow, DECCMA, completed his graduation in Urban and Rural Planning in 1996. He did his masters in Water Resources Management from the University of Adelaide in 2012.  His dissertation was on Urban Water Balancing model for projected urban growth of Adelaide Metropolis for 2008-2038. Mr. Omar completed another Masters in Development Studies.  He is a PhD fellow and involved in Work Package 6 under the DECCMA Project at BUET.

Arif Chowdhury

Arif ChowdhuryArif Chowdhury has completed an honors program from Chittagong University. He is interested in research activities and would like to work in the environmental sectors.  He is the founder co-ordinator of a non-governmental organisation named “Youth Volunteer of Environment” and attends several national and international programs.  He is working as a research assistant on the DECCMA project.

Shamrita Zaman

Shamrita ZamanShamrita Zaman completed her B.Sc in Civil Engineering at Khulna University of Engineering and Technology. She has worked as an Assistant Engineer at a project named ECRRP, LGED, where she observed clearly how the people are distressed because of the naturally made climate disaster. She has an interest in research programs on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Her B.Sc thesis was on finding the degradation rate of organic waste mixing with compost.  She is working under Work Package 1 on the DECCMA project.

Manjurul Hussain Shourov

Manjurul Hussain Shourov newMd. Manjurul Hussain graduated in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh. Currently, he is doing his MSc in Water Resources Development at the Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh. His main fields of interest are statistical analysis, GIS, remote sensing and climate change.  Md. Manjurul Hussain Shourov is a Research Assistant, working on Work Package 5 for the DECCMA Project, which will develop methods to assess adaptation choices in deltas, with a strong focus on migration.

Delowar Hossain

Delowar HossainDelowar Hossain is a Civil and Environmental Engineer from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. Presently, he is pursuing his M.Sc. degree in Water Resources Development at the Institute of Water and Flood Management, BUET.  His research interests are numerical modelling, GIS, remote sensing and hydrological modelling.  He is working as a research assistant for the DECCMA project on Work Package 2. His main task is to run the flow model and provide information about the fluvio-tidal flooding.

Mahmida Tul Urmi

Mahmida Tul UrmiMahmida Tul Urmi is a Civil and Environmental Engineer from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet. She is currently pursuing her M.Sc. Degree in Water Resource Development (WRD) from IWFM, BUET, Dhaka. Her main fields of interest are River and Coastal Morphology, Climate Change Impact on Water Resources, Hydrology and Climate modelling, etc. Mahmida Tul Urmi is a Research Assistant, working on Work Package 2 for the DECCMA Project, which will examine the vulnerability, environmental stressors and hazards of a range of climate change and biophysically driven scenarios across the four study deltas.

Md. Aminul Islam Khan

Aminul Islam KhanMd. Aminul Islam Khan has completed his BSc degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh. Currently, he is doing his MSc in Water Resources Development at the Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh. His main fields of interest are rainfall trend analysis, statistical analysis, GIS and remote sensing, climate change, river discharge, contamination source identification and sensor placement in water distribution network, water quality assessment, phytoremediation, etc. Md. Aminul Islam Khan is a Research Assistant, working on Work Package 2 and Work Package 5 for the DECCMA Project.

Anika Tahsin

Anika TahsinAnika Tahsin is a civil and environmental engineer with a research interest in water and environmental sectors. She has completed her graduation from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet. Currently she is pursuing her M.Sc. degree in Water Resources Development at IWFM, BUET. Anika is working on Work Package 2 for the DECCMA Project, which will geographically define the key hazard / environmental stressor components. Her main task is to run the flow model.

Faisal Mahmood

Faisal MahmoodFaisal Mahmood is a Water Resources Engineer with an interest in understanding how rural and urban communities respond to climate change. Faisal mainly focuses on mitigation and development in subsistence communities in Water Resources Sectors in Bangladesh. River bank erosion, Flood Risk Management and Remote Sensing and GIS is the primary research interest of Faisal. Currently he is ongoing with his M.Sc in (WRD) in Institute of Water and Flood Management, BUET.  Faisal is acting as a researcher on Hydrotrend model in DECCMA project, which is required to predict the sediment flux and discharge of GBM basin. The result analysis further leads to predict the climatic vulnerability and adaption in the catchment areas of the basin.

Sadmina Razzaque

Sadmina RazzaqueSadmina Razzaque is a Civil and Environmental Engineer from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology.  Presently, she is pursuing her M.Sc. degree in Water Resources Development at the Institute of Water and Flood Management, BUET.  Her research interests are numerical modelling, GIS, remote sensing and hydrological modelling.  She is working as a research assistant for the DECCMA project on Work Package 2. Her main task is to run the flow model.

Imtiaz Hossain

Imtiaz HossainImtiaz Hossain graduated in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh. Currently, he is completing his MSc in Water Resources Development at the Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh. His main fields of interest are river and coastal morphology, climate change impact on water resources, hydrology and climate modelling, etc.  Imtiaz Hossain is a Research Assistant, working on Work Package 2 for the DECCMA Project, which will examine the vulnerability, environmental stressors and hazards of a range of climate change and biophysically driven scenarios across the four study deltas.

Tansir Zaman Asik

Tansir AsikTansir Zaman Asik has completed his BSc. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Islamic University of Technology (IUT), Gazipur, Bangladesh. Currently, he is pursuing his MSc. degree in Water Resources Development in the Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh. His main fields of research are remote sensing and GIS, hydraulic and numeric modelling, climate change related issues and mitigation and adaptation policies.  He is working on Work Package 2 of the DECCMA project.

Dewan Sadia Karim

Dewan Sadia KarimDewan Sadia Karim is an urban planner and has a personal interest in understanding how vulnerable rural and urban communities are to climate change.  Before joining DECCMA, Dewan did research on how to improve living conditions of rural people via social business.  She is working as a research assistance for DECCMA’s Work Package 2, which will identify the vulnerable and risk prone areas subject to four types of hazard, in the three deltas.

Nishat Tasnim Priyanka

Nishat Tasnim Priyanka is currently pursuing her M.Sc. in Water Resource Development at the Institute of Water and Flood Management, BUET.  She is a Civil and Environmental Engineer from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet. Her undergraduate thesis was on Slope Stability Analysis of Sylhet City using Landslide Possibility Index (LPI) and Limit Equilibrium Method.  Her research interests are GIS, remote sensing and numerical modelling. She is working as a Research Assistant on DECCMA’s Work Package 2.

Mashrekur Rahman

Mashrekur Rahman received his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering in 2014 and his M.Sc. degree in Water Resources Development in October 2016. He has a number of scientific conferences, journal, book chapter publications and numerous newspaper columns based on his research. Mashrekur’s current research interests include remote sensing, GIS, hydrodynamic modelling, environment, aquaculture, wetlands and water management in drought-prone regions.  Mashrekur is currently working on Work Package 5 of the DECCMA project. He is also playing an active role in DECCMA’s Research-Into-Use.

Ganges Brahmaputra Meghna Delta

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Migration, resettlement, river erosion and cyclones; WP 3 Fieldwork in Bangladesh – May 2016

migration fieldwork in bangladesh

Migration fieldwork in Bangladesh

Of all the countries in the world, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The regular and severe environmental hazards that already batter the country – tropical cyclones, river erosion, flood, landslides and drought – are all projected to increase in intensity and frequency as a result of global environmental change. Fieldwork conducted in the Lakshmipur district, southeast of Dhaka, enabled Northern and Bangladesh WP 3 members to observe first-hand how the effects of cyclones such as Roanu (heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge) together with the impact of Meghna river erosion affect the daily lives and livelihoods of inhabitants of Lakhipur and Ramgoti. The WP3 team in the field consisted of Dr Anwara Begum (BIDS), Mr Rashed Bhuiyan and Mr Mahmudol Hasan Rocky (RMRRU), and Dr Ricardo Safra de Campos (University of Exeter), with logistical support provided by BUET.

As part of our work associated with resettlement, displacement and abandonment, the fieldwork team interviewed local government officials in Lakhipur and Ramgoti, members of governmental agencies in Dhaka, NGO representatives, resettled communities and members of households residing in vulnerable localities. In total, 19 stakeholder interviews were conduct by the WP 3 field team covering resettlement policy design and implementation. The fieldwork also included visits to resettlement projects in Ramgoti Upazila where researchers conducted interviews and collected empirical evidence on perceptions, expectations, and material and subjective wellbeing of local families. Among other findings, the interviews revealed the magnitude of the impact of riverbank erosion in Ramgoti. The mighty Meghna River has already engulfed 37 kilometres of the 96 kilometre flood protection embankment covering the Ramgati and Kamalnagar Upazilas, putting agricultural land, homes and local infrastructure at risk. 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 important impacts related to climate change and environmental hazards will be the forced movement of people throughout Bangladesh as a result of loss of homes, lands, property and livelihoods. For many inhabitants of deltaic areas in the country, spatial mobility in the form of permanent, seasonal and circular migration has become an integral part of life. Over past decades, a significant proportion of men and women in those areas have become migrant workers in order to sustain their families back home. The vast majority of this population movement takes place internally presenting the government with enormous challenges such as addressing key issues of housing, income-generating activities and access to frontline services such as health, education and basic sanitation in large urban centres such as Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna.

Other objectives of the field activity included pre-testing the preliminary draft of the migrant receiving area questionnaire in localities in Dhaka that concentrate large numbers of migrants. The WP 3 team visited the informal settlement districts of Mirpur-12, Bholar Bosti, Molla Bosti and Duaripara. Interviews with local residents of these localities revealed a variety of migration pathways, histories and driving factors including an environmental factor – whether climate related or not. Virtually all stakeholders interviewed suggested that rural to urban migration will continue to slums. Due to the lack of adequate income, food, water, shelter and basic amenities these migrants might be drawn into a cycle of poverty and indebtedness, as labour migration is often costly in itself. Nonetheless, those families that cannot employ migration as an option to improve their living condition might be worse off. These people may be ‘trapped’ in a deteriorating environment where traditional forms of livelihood are unsustainable and poverty and social disadvantage are a constant presence in their everyday lives.

Integrated Shrimp Aquaculture for Climate Change Adaptation

integrated shrimp aquaculture

Shrimp aquaculture in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta

Shrimp aquaculture started in GBM delta during 1980s and mainly within coastal polders. It expanded rapidly where salinity was suitable. However, there was much concern on environmental and social grounds due to mal-practice of shrimp culture and diseases. In course of time, shrimp culture practice and areas of shrimp culture changed and mix culture took hold at many places. Integrated or mix farming with less environmental and social conflicts appears to have great potential as an adaption option to climate change in the coastal zone. Recently, a field survey has been conducted to learn more about this adaption option and appears to hold great promises.

It has been found that integrated farming is propagating in areas with salinity lower than 15 ppt. Various forms of integrated and mix farms can be seen. Such farms adopts a combination of crops such as brackish water shrimp (bagda), freshwater shrimp (golda), tilapia, other fin fish, crab, horticulture/agriculture (dry season vegetables and paddy) and Geese/duck. Usual cropping pattern would be Bagda-Paddy, Golda-Paddy, Golda-Bagda-Agriculture. These integrated farming systems are developed by farmers through trial and error with little extension support from line agencies. However, such integrated approaches usually are difficult to be supported by single line agency. Extension support for such integrated farming will require a completely different extension model. These integrated approaches would be more resilient, cost effective, rational use of resources to climate change condition.

It is apprehended that in climate change condition new areas of GBM Delta will be inundated and salinity will intrude farther. Many areas may not remain suitable for paddy farming and may be considered for shrimp aquaculture. In such situation only good practices with integrated form may be one of the adaptive solutions. Based on investigation made during 2015-16 by IWFM, BUET under DECCMA study, several integrated and sustainable shrimp farming practices in Chitalmari and Fakirhat of Bagerhat District has been found where horizontal and vertical expansion of this aquaculture pattern absorbed seasonal and local unemployed youth including women. It is observed that in these areas farmer opted brackish water shrimp in one season and freshwater shrimp in another season. In between, farmers considered Tilapia and other fin fishes and also horticulture/agriculture. The yield and income has been profitable and sustainable. There are indications that such integrated/mix farms reduces migration too.

So far, integrated farming is mostly seen in the Khulna region. It is not seen much in Barisal or Chittagong region. With climate changed condition it is estimated that more areas will become brackish especially in some areas in Pirojpur, Jhalokathi and Barisal. It is apprehended that people would prefer mix shrimp-fish culture (towards integration) as salinity level will not be high to choose for Bagda alone and not so less to continue with rice farming. So there will be scope for integrated fish-shrimp-horticulture. Thus, existing coverage of integrated farming though not very high but in future it will be considerable especially if there is adequate extension support. In future, integrated farming involving marine fish may also take hold where salinity would be little high. Again it will require new form of extension services.

Integrated shrimp aquaculture also observed other Deltas under DECCMA study. In Mahanadi Delta in India especially in the Chandipur area at the outfall of Subarnarekha River within permissible salinity range. In Volta Delta in Ghana Shrimp Farming not yet flourished. One farm established in 2013 (including a hatchery) in the Ada East District and created job opportunity for many people.

A Tale of two Cities

2015 saw an acceleration of DECCMA with extensive work on the development of Household Surveys across four study deltas in India, Bangladesh and Ghana, looking at the component role climatic change might play in migration and adaptation. This work has been substantially supported by the outcomes of a sister project to DECCMA in the form of ESPA Deltas. Both of these projects were represented at the AGU December 2015 in San Francisco at a specific session relating to Delta research, called Sustainable Deltas: Multidisciplinary Analyses of Complex Systems II, Global Environmental Change (Primary Convener Irina Overeem CSDMS/INSTAAR on behalf of Belmont Deltas), with cross-referencing between the talks demonstrating a continuity of learning and development. The following were presented:

Hutton C.W., & Nicholls, R.J. & Allan, A. (2015), Migration in Vulnerable Deltas: A Research Strategy. AGU, 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Nicholls, et. al. (Hutton, C.W) (2015). Ecosystem services and livelihoods in deltaic environments (Invited). AGU 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Lazar, A. et. al. (Hutton, C.W) (2015). An integrated framework to assess plausible future livelihood and poverty changes in deltas: an application to coastal Bangladesh. AGU 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Payo Garcia, A. & Hutton, C.W. (2015). Assessing the time scale response of Health, Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Populous Deltas. AAG, Chicago 2015

The presentations within the session were wide ranging and thought provoking with examples of papers and posters from highly developed contexts to regions of the developing world under extraordinary stress from environmental degradation and climatic changes. One common thematic approach that might be drawn from the session was the diversity and complexity of the social interaction across these landscape scale features with competing requirements for industry and food production as well as the socio-economic and cultural needs of the people who occupy the lands including the complex drivers of migration and urbanisation. The meeting was followed by a meal in down town San Francisco where, Profs Overeem and Nicholls lead a discussion on possible collaborative efforts that have continued from this meeting.

Drawing on a specific component of this discussion, namely that of land and water and the relation to food security, The DECCMA project was also presented as a case study at the Land and Water Days, November 2015 in Rome where a conference was jointly convened by FAO, IFAD and WFP as part of efforts aimed at reaching effective and lasting impacts for land and water actions on the ground. The event is presented as an opportunity to review policies, technologies and approaches to secure sustained improvements in support to activities on the ground; and foster exchanges of experience between countries and regions. The University of Southampton presented a detailed study of DECCMA in the “Land and Water assessment for identifying vulnerabilities and sustaining rural livelihoods” session entitled; Deltas, Vulnerability & Climate Change: Migration & Adaptation: Assessing vulnerability of populations to land and water shocks, with elements of the lessons learned in ESPA Deltas as an example of how remote sensing can be used to extract both social and biophysical data of relevance to planning in food security and livelihoods. The talk was well received and as well as ongoing established links with FAO (specifically John Latham NRL) has spawned some discussions and potential collaboration with WFP.