A study has found that 57 percent of slum dwellers in five cities – Barishal, Khulna, Rajshahi, Satkhira and Sirajganj – are climate migrants.
The study also found that 51 percent of these climate migrants are female, while 49 percent are male. Fifty-five percent of them have been living in slums for more than 20 years.
GIZ Bangladesh – a Germany-based public benefit enterprise working on adaptation to climate change in urban areas – conducted the study under its Urban Management of Internal Migration due to Climate Change (UMIMCC) project implemented on behalf of the German government and the European Union.
The study that covered more than 17,000 households at 47 slums (Hotspots) in the selected cities was carried out from January 2018 to April 2019.
"Climate change brings frequent natural disasters. These people migrated because of cyclones, river erosion etc," said Sheikh Mohammad Ashraful Islam, a senior coordinator of the project.
In keeping with the findings in the report, male bread-earners of all the households in these urban slums have two livelihood options, while 42 percent of them have three. Fifty percent of the women are housewives and therefore not active earners.
The per capita daily income of slum dwellers is $1, while 66 percent of the households are in debt. Twenty percent of the households take loans to repay their other loans.
Khulna has the highest in debt slum households at 74.30 percent, Barishal has the lowest at 48.10 percent.
On average, every male member of the households has a loan burden amounting to Tk8,855. The loan amount is Tk5,234 on every female member.
Meanwhile, half the respondents know they are entitled to get specific social service benefits from local or national authorities, but only eight percent have applied and receive these services.
A session on sharing the findings and approaches of the study was held on Wednesday at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Shibani Bhattacharjee, additional secretary (law and agency) of the social welfare ministry, attended the event as the chief guest.
Dr Angelika Fleddermann, the country director of GIZ Bangladesh, Manfred Fernholz, first secretary of the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, and Caren Blume, deputy head of development cooperation of the German embassy in Bangladesh, were present as special guests.
Speakers stressed the need to improve the living conditions of climate migrants in urban areas. They focused on developing marketable skills among migrants to improve their living standard.
Manfred Fernholz appreciated Bangladesh's progress in various sectors, particularly in terms of its ability to cope with natural disasters that have grown more intense and more frequent because of climate change.
Caren Blume pointed out the importance of empowering women. She added that the German government is committed to continuing its support to the Bangladesh government in this respect.