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«Planned Decentralization : Aspired Development Climate Induced Vulnerability and Migration of the People from Islands of Bangladesh: A Case Study on ...»

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Planned Decentralization : Aspired Development

Climate Induced Vulnerability and Migration of the People

from Islands of Bangladesh: A Case Study on Coastal Erosion

of Kutubdia Island

Shakhawat Hosen Tanim

Assistant Urban Planner,

Sheltech (Pvt.) Ltd., Dhaka.

Dipok Chandra Roy

Program Manager, Practical Action,

Bangladesh, Dhaka.

Background

Climate vulnerability and climate change induced forced migrationis the major issues

now a day. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate change induced forced migration is the greatest single impact of climate change. It estimates that by 2059, 150 million people may be displaced by climate change. Climate change refugees may reach 30 million in Bangladesh. Basically this migration is from coastal area to urban area. This migration is creating urban slum and a pressure on urban management.

Among the coastal area the Islands of Bangladesh are geographically very vulnerable. We have some major Islands like Bhola, Sandwip, Hatia, Kutubdia, Moheshkhali, Saintmartin. During high tide 30868 m3 sea water flows upward through the cannels of Kutubdia, Sandwip and Hatia. Coastal erosion, tide, manmade and natural disaster are the major problem here. All Islands are vulnerable regarding the location, economy and society. So these islands are creating push factor migration towards the urban areas and also creating urban slum and social vulnerability. Most of the people of the slums of urban area of Bangladesh are migrated from naturally vulnerable areas like these Islands. However, these islands are having lots of natural resources and scope of livelihood. People are living here with lots of economic activity especially fishing, processing and marketing. Despite these facilities, they are continually migrating. It is time tofind out the probable solution to reduce the migration.This study presents the vulnerability scenario of Kutubdia Island and previous solution to protect coastal erosion and hazards.

66 World Town Planning Day 2013 Planned Decentralization : Aspired Development Introduction Kutubdia is a south eastern island to Cox’s Bazar. Cyclone and storm surges are the most common and frequent disaster of Kutubdia upazila which causes a lot of sufferings for the inhabitants. Kutubdia Island consists of six unions named- Ali Akbar Dail, North Dhurung, South Dhurung, Lemshikhali, Kaiarbil, Baraghope.

(Figure 1) It has a population of 1,25,279 with a growth rate of 1.54%. During the British regime a Light House was established at Kutubdia for the incoming ships to the Chittagong Port. This light house has no existence at present as most of the land area of Kutubdia has been eroded by the Bay of Bengal. (BBS, 2012).

Figure 1: Map of Kutubdia

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Facts about Kutubdia Potential for tourist attraction: The small island, Kutubdia is famous for the light house. Kutubdia is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal. It has a sandy beach like Cox’s Bazar. People can enjoy sunset here. The landscape beside the beach has lots of variation in Kutubdia. Some contains Jhau tree, some contains villages, some contains salt farm. The main lacking of the tourist island is advertisements. Proper promotion can make the spot attractive for tourist.

Economy of Kutubdia: The economy of Kutubdia is much diversified. Urbanization is 20.34%. But there is little difference between urban and rural Kutubdia. People of this area engaged mostly agriculture (56%). (Figure 2) Most of them work in salt production. So, thisprofession dominates the economy of Kutubdia. They are also engaged in fishing. This Island is also a giant exporter of salt and fish.Main crops of Kutubdia are Paddy, potato, watermelon, ginger, tomato, bean, betel nut. Main cultivated fruits are Mango, banana, papaya, plum, coconut. People utilize 115 hectares of land for shrimp cultivation and 1416 hectare of land for salt production.

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Social condition of Kutubdia: Society of Kutubdia is very under developed. Here literacy rate is 34% which is very low compared to the national average. They also have limited access to social facilities. The health and hygiene condition was also poor at one time. But now it has been improved. However, only 7.8% people have

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access to Electricity. It means people of this area are deprived of Electricity compared to other upazila. (Figure 3) 54.00% 37.30% 32.10% 7.80%

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Natural Recourses: Kutubdia is also enriched with natural resources like Gas and Sulphur. In 1977 Petrobangla discovered the Kutubdia gas field with a reserve of

45.50 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Gas from Kutubdia through pipeline to be connected to the supply line from Sangu-11 and can contribute to help economic growth of Bangladesh.

Wind Power: Kutubdia has exceptional and potential natural resource which is wind for electricity generation. The maximum wind power is obtained from Kutubdia which is 138 W/m2. Compared to other location, Kutubdia has higher wind speed for power generation. (Figure 4) 5.17 5.12 3.58 3.44 3.22

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Climate induced vulnerability and migration:

Coastal Erosion: The main problem of the Kutubdia is continuous erosion of land.





The land of Kutubdia is eroding in an enormous rate. The Coast trust estimates that if the erosion continues at the same rate, Kutubdia will vanish from the map completely in 70 years. But erosion also occurs every year during the high monsoon tides. A government-built embankment has change the world the erosion in recent years. But where the embankment does not exist or is broken, the sea continues to swallow up land. There is evidence that the rate of erosion has increased in Kutubdia in the past few years. This erosion is making the are more vulnerable. Figure 5 shows different sections of Kutubdia. It states that from 2006 to 2013 there is an excessive erosion of land.

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With the ongoing erosion due to the stronger and bigger waves, the island continues to sink. (Table1)Fishermen and salt-workers have been swamped and about 40,000 people have fled from six villages of island since 1991.

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Some marginal level of mangrove plantation have been so far done out of government initiatives. Mangroves are being destroyed gradually by the Shrimp culture and Salt fields.

On the other hand, Water Development Board built 40 kilometres of embankment to protect Kutubdia from erosion, of which 24 kilometres have been damaged in the cyclone of 1991. In the re-tender of the embankment reconstruction, Rajakhali, Khudiar Tek and Tabaler Char were deducted from the list of protected area by the embankment. It brings the total area of the KutubdiaIsland to only 36 square kilometres. Though the damaged length of the embankment is around 10.5 km but reconstruction is only going on for 0.42 km. Under this situation nothing could save Kutubdia from natural hazardslike cyclones, storm surges.

Sea level rise: No scientific monitoring of sea-level rise has been done on Kutubdia, but increases of nearly 8 mm a year have been recorded over 20 years at Cox’s Bazar.

This is nearly three times the average for Bangladesh and up to five times of the world average sea-level rise. Besides the continuous erosion, this sea level rise is also increase vulnerability of Kutubdia.

Financial vulnerability: It was previously said that Kutubdia is full of economic activity. Most of these activities are related to fishing and salt farming. Farming, one of the two main livelihoods on the island—the other being fishing—is gradually being abandoned due to shrinkage of arable land, while people are made homeless refugees. So people of this area are suffering from poverty. Although having lots of resources and potentiality of Kutubdia, people of this area are in debt. BRAC, Gana Swasthya Kendra, Prism Bangladesh, IFAD Unnayan Sahajogi Team, Grameen Bank are working here. They are trying to improve the lively hood of people. But people are making debt to return other debt. So they are in a cycle. Sometime their income is less than the expenditure. This situation is making them economically vulnerable.

Besides, people of this area are detached from the mainland of Bangladesh. They have to cross the Kutubdia channel to do any kind of business or job in the main land.

It takes around 30tk per person to cross the channel. So, if they can find some opportunity in the main land they do not find it feasible to cross the channel twice daily to do the job. They have to migrate there.

Locational vulnerability to cyclone and storm surge: Kutubdia is extremely prone to natural disaster mostly cyclone. In the cyclone of 1991 least 138,000 people were killed with around 22,000 dead in Kutubdia. Most of the families of Kutubdia lost their dearest ones in the cyclone of 1991. In other severe cyclone people of this area lost their property. Risk level of the unions has been determined by considering World Town Planning Day 2013 71 Planned Decentralization : Aspired Development amount of vulnerable features and number of different shelters. Large amount of vulnerable features and inadequate number of shelters make the area more risky. In case of 3-4m inundation, almost all the katcha roads of Ali Akbar Dail unions and Baraghope unions will be inundated. All the bazaars of Ali Akbar Dail unions and Baraghope unions will also be inundated. For Ali Akbar Dail unions, the number of unexposed cyclone shelter and school is four. For Baraghope unions, the number of unexposed cyclone shelter and school is one. Considering amount of vulnerable features and number of unexposed shelters, the most risky unions for 3-4 m inundation are Ali Akbar Dail unions and Baraghope unions of Kutubdia which will cover most of the area. (Ahmed & Anwar, 2012) Migration: Due to these vulnerabilities people of this area are interested to migrate outside. There are some kinds of migration which are common here. Among them step migration, chain migration, seasonal migration are very common. People are well aware about the vulnerability of this island. They try to migrate outside if they can afford. But this Island is giving them lots of economic activity. So they have to abandon these activities for the sake of migration. So the opportunity cost they are leaving here to migrate to other land is huge. So they are always in dilemma to decide about the migration. It would be better for them if they are given protection here from erosion and disaster. Then this island would be a business attraction for other people.

Even in Cox’s Bazar city there is area named Kutubdia para. So people of Kutubdia are migrating at a large scale. (ChristianAid, 2006)

Consideration for protecting coastal erosion

The key physical parameters that need to be understood to identify coastal erosion as

a problem in the coastal area of Kutubdia:

 Coastal geomorphology: Coastline type and sensitivity to coastal processes of Kutubdia should be studied.

 Wind: The main force in wave generation; under the right environmental conditions, wind may transfer sediment from the beach environment landward on all open coastlines. Kutubdia has a higher wind speed than other coastal area.

(Figure 4)  Waves: They are the most important forces for sediment erosion and transport to the coastal zone.

 Tides: They are influential in beach morphodynamics. They modulate wave action, controlling energy arriving on the coast and drive groundwater fluctuation and tidal currents.

72 World Town Planning Day 2013 Planned Decentralization : Aspired Development  Vegetation: Important for improving slope stability, consolidating sediments and providing some shoreline protection. Bangladesh applied vegetation scheme in many coastal areas.

 Human activity: Significant human activities must be considered over the range of spatial and time scales for protection coastal erosion. Activities along the coast: Kutubdia has lots of activity along the coastline. It has salt farming and shrimp farming which always hamper the plantation and the embankment.

Protecting coastal erosion

Current experience from Kutubdia: Plantation measure can be a good solution to protect from the erosion. Government has taken some measure like this. But this was in very short scale. Creating a mangrove can protect this island like Moheshkhali. But the previous experiences say that these mangroves are destroyed by shrimp farmer.

So plantation will not give the ultimate solution. It must need protection from the grabber. Spar/ stone dike also can be constructed.

Embankment can also give protection from erosion and the storm surge. Kutubdia lost numerous lives in 1991. It can be reduced if there is a strong embankment.

Government also has taken initiative to build embankment. It should be a comprehensive scheme to protect the erosion.

Other measure option Hard structural Hard structural options use structures constructed on the beach (seawalls, groynes, breakwaters/artificial headlands) or further offshore (offshore breakwaters). These options influence coastal processes to stop or reduce the rate of coastal erosion. To protect the erosion of Kutubdia there can be some options.

Groyne:A coastal structure constructed perpendicular to the coastline from the shore into the sea to trap longshore sediment transport or control longshore currents. It has

the following disadvantages:

Induces local scour at the toes of the structures.

 Causes erosion downdrift; requires regular maintenance.

 Typically more than one structure is required.

 World Town Planning Day 2013 73 Planned Decentralization : Aspired Development Seawall:A seawall is a structure constructed parallel to the coastline that shelters the

shore from wave action. The disadvantages of this structure are:

It creates wave reflections and promotes sediment transport offshore.

 Scour occurs at the toes of eroded beaches.

 It does not promote beach stability.

 It should be constructed along the whole coastline; if not, erosion will occur on  the adjacent coastline.

Offshore breakwater: An offshore breakwater is a structure that parallels the shore (in



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