Bangladesh is already one of the most climate vulnerable nations in the world, and global warming will bring more floods, stronger cyclones. At the dry fish yards, close to the airport at the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar, women are busy sorting fish to dry in the sun. They say the process, which begins in October, can continue through to February or March if the weather is good.
But Aman Ullah Shawdagor, a dry fish businessman who employs 70 people, says high tides and seasonal changes have hit his business hard. Last year there were four cyclones, more than ever before. In 2015, there was only one.
“My business is not doing so well because of the changing weather conditions,” says Shawdagor. “This is a dry season business. But for the last couple of years, the rain has become more frequent. It rains not only in the rainy season but also in the winter. There have also been more signals [storm warnings] with the rise in high tides. When the high tide comes, it frequently covers the whole of the land here. It is very bad for the dry fish.”
Nurul Hashem, a schoolteacher from Kutubdia Para, a nearby shanty town where many of the dry fish workers live, has also noted the trend. “We believe the water level is getting higher here,” he says. “Last year, my home was under water three or four times.”
Scientists predict that, by 2050, as many as 25 million people in Bangladesh will be affected by the rising sea level. Hashem and Shawdagor believe that they are already seeing the effects of a changing climate, however.