The disappearing rivers of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a land of rivers, but changing climate has caused a third of the country’s more than 300 large rivers to disappear.
The rivers are drying out as a result of barriers built upstream to divert water and protect people from floods that have become more frequent as the weather becomes more erratic. A drop in rainfall has also gradually reduced water flow.
The loss of the rivers has affected local people’s livelihoods. Many of those who previously earned a living from fishing have turned to farming because their former work was no longer profitable.
To ease the problem, the government and NGOs are establishing programmes aimed at promoting the creation of temporary markets where people can sell goods such as jute, molasses, and lentils. There are also efforts to improve transport so local people can move to nearby cities until their economic situation improves. The government also plans to assign property rights over land that has emerged from the water to people whose families have lived for centuries near the now-vanished rivers.