Bangladeshi Coastal Communities Plant Mangroves as a Shield Against Cyclones

Environmental News from Bangladesh: 

  • Bangladesh’s southwestern coastal districts are prone to tidal surges, which can become extreme during cyclone seasons, with surges as high as 3 meters (10 feet).
  • The coasts have embankments built across to keep the seeping seawater from reaching the coastal settlements, but as cyclones get more severe under a changing climate, these embankments aren’t enough, and losing houses to cyclonic floods has become the norm for coastal communities here.
  • As a protection measure, the Bangladeshi government and several NGOs, with the communities’ participation, have initiated large-scale planting of mangrove trees along the embankments to act as a natural shield against tidal surges.
  • The NGOs have provided the initial financial and technical support to the communities and are encouraging a self-reliant process of planting native mangrove species.

SATKHIRA, Bangladesh — Over the past three decades, Moyna Rani Mondol, who lives right on the coast in Bangladesh’s southwestern district of Satkhira, has lost her home around 10 times to floods due to tidal surges.

Bangladesh is a large delta crisscrossed by more than 300 rivers. It’s one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters like floods, tropical storms and cyclones, inducing coastal erosion and soil salinization.

Most coastal villages here have the protection of several dikes and embankments built along the coasts to separate themselves from the sea as well as the tidal surges during high tides and cyclones.

The coastal people are no strangers to the tidal surges during high tides. But during the cyclone season, when the surges are much higher and more severe than usual, they flood the settlements by breaching the dikes and embankments set up to protect the communities. Now, each time a cyclone makes landfall, the villages get flooded.

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Source: Mongabay

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