One of the world’s most populous countries, Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly cyclones and floods. Rising sea levels threaten the low-lying country, a quarter of which is less than a metre above sea level.
Bangladesh’s rural poor have been hit especially hard. As disasters become more frequent and severe, saltwater intrusion and droughts degrade their land and fresh water, causing crops to fail and water supplies to run short. Under these harsh conditions, many poor farmers are moving to the country’s big cities in search of new jobs and a better life.
As a result, the population of the country’s capital Dhaka — one of the world’s fastest growing megacities — almost doubled from 10.3 million inhabitants in 2000 to 18.2 million in 2016. Dhaka has not handled its rapid growth well: about 40 percent of its residents live in slums without proper housing or sufﬁcient sanitation. Fleeing the impacts of climate change, these new city-dwellers end up in living situations that are just as precarious as the homes they left behind.