The impact of extreme climatic events on migration from two communities in Bangladesh

Moniruzzaman, Md (2015) The impact of extreme climatic events on migration from two communities in Bangladesh. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

The latest IPCC Report (Adger et al 2014) identifies climate change and climate variability as important factors for human security because of the capacity to undermine livelihoods, compromise culture and identity, and increase migration. Although the predicted global patterns of extreme climatic events appear to have changed with some strong cyclones and floods already occurring; a strong relationship between extreme climatic events and climate change is not fully established (IPCC 2014). Adger et al (2014) suggest in all regions of the world, migration serves as a mechanism for adapting to extreme climatic events, be it temporary or permanent, and that our understanding of the potential influence of climate change on migration can be enhanced by an understanding of the impacts of extreme climatic events on migration. This understanding would need to include sending and destination communities, especially if there is the potential for policy interventions.

This study investigates contributions to migration in areas affected by extreme climatic events as a proxy for understanding the potential impacts of climate change on migration. That is, whether people have already started migrating as a result of extreme climatic events, or they are moving because of other factors that have contributed to migration (Adger et al., 2014).

Bangladesh, as one of the most climatically impacted countries of the world, has been selected as a case study for this research. Within Bangladesh, two communities consistently affected by climatic factors such as cyclone and tidal surges, and flood and river bank erosion are chosen as locations for this research. Semi-structured questionnaires and Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were used to collect data in both communities. Qualitative analysis was employed to elaborate the outcomes.

Consistent with the view that migration is most likely to be a consequence of complex interactions of a number of factors (Adger et al 2014), results show that anthropogenic causes, such as government policy implementation to protect the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest of the world, and changing paddy cultivation fields into saline fish farming have contributed to migration. Additionally, natural hazards such as periodic floods, river bank erosion, cyclones and tidal surges have all damaged the territory of poor workers and/or daily labourers leading them to move to places where employment is more available. In this regard, extreme climatic events have played a fundamental and influential role with other factors in the process of migration. Results also indicate that transportation costs and social networks are fundamental requirements for migration. Moreover, a number of migrants from the riverine community have built their own strong community and business sectors in the places of destination. Nevertheless, negative consequences such as conflicts, insecurities, and threats to the migrants were also seen where the community of migrants is not strong at the destinations.

This study has contributed to filling a research gap about the relationship between extreme climatic events and migration in the coastal and riverine communities of Bangladesh and has provided a significant contribution to the theories of migration with regard to push-pull factors, intervening factors and the consequences of potential climate induced migration that can inform and facilitate the basis of local government policy and planning, and human settlement planning.

Item ID: 46523
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: adapting to climate change; Bangladesh; climate change; climatic extremes; cyclones; drought; environmental refugees; extreme climates; extreme climatic events; floods; maladaptive; migration; natural disasters; natural hazards; river bank erosion; tidal surges
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2016 05:32
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961002 Natural Hazards in Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
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