Koyra is an Upzila (sub-district) in Bangladesh, which consists of 7 unions, 6 of which are currently under water. When the time came to plan a Climate Hearing in this region, there was no available land where people could meet together, so the community worked with Humanity Watch and Oxfam to coordinate a Climate Hearings on a series of boats in the flooded area.
Since cyclone Aila hit this region in May 2009, 73 villages are under water. People are living in temporary shelters along the embankments and the loss of livelihood in these villages is devastating. The cattle, poultry and fish have all been killed and there will be no harvest this year because of the water everywhere. There is no safe drinking water, and many people are trying to migrate – but can find no place to go.
The Climate Hearing was organised on the premises of Kopotakkha College, with two hundred people gathered on the boats and close to 800 standing along the banks of the embankment, watching the proceedings.
Mostofa Gausul Haque, the principal of the college, delivered a speech in which he highlighted that within the next 50 years, 17% of Bangladesh’s coastal land will be underwater, resulting in 15 million displaced people. A number of community members provided testimonies on the boats, and demanded for justice. They asked what the solutions will be for the future of Bangladesh. Even though the Government and NGOs are trying to do what they can, the hearing attendees expressed that international support and compensation for the affected people in Bangladesh was a crucial part of the solution.
Duncan Green, Head of Research at Oxfam GB, attending this hearing and shares his experience on his blog ‘From Poverty to Power‘: