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Resilient Bangladesh: Fishermen Cope with Rougher Seas
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Resilient Bangladesh: Fishermen Cope with Rougher Seas
In Bangladesh, some of the world's most vulnerable people are being adversely affected by climate change, particularly more intense and frequent storms. But Mohammed Illias, a fisherman on the Meghna River, has adapted his boat with help from a local NGO to make it stronger and more resilient.
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Produced by United Nations University.

Read about the effect of climate change on Bangladeshi fishermen.

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Segment 1

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Bay of Bengal. India. Noakhali, Bangladesh
VOICEOVER
Mohammed Illias has been fishing the Meghna River from the age of 12. Like his father and relatives before him, he depends on the waters of Bangladesh to provide for his wife and four children. Now a boat owner, Mohammed hires a handful of fisherman to go out to sea for 10 days at a time to fish for hilsa. He has noticed changes in the weather over the past several years.
MOHAMMED ILLIAS [Fisherman]
When I went fishing as a child, storms happened but the wind and waves were less frequent. Now the waves are frequent. Our situation is more critical. We are more endangered than before.
VOICEOVER
The livelihood of a fisherman has become an increasingly dangerous one. Stronger storms and more frequent tropical cyclones along the coastlines of Bangladesh are said to be result of climate change. These traditional fishing boats are made entirely of wood. While they have served the fishermen well for generations, they no longer can cope with the growing intensity of the changing climate. In 2008, Mohammed's boat was badly damaged in a storm.
MOHAMMED ILLIAS
When the accident happened there were 8 to 10 fishermen onboard. Our ship capsized. We were saved by boats nearby. I thought that I was going to die. My cousin and uncle lost their lives in a disaster like that. We never found their bodies.
VOICEOVER
With a broken boat, Mohammed had no way of making money to support his family.
MOHAMMED ILLIAS
How can I educate my children? How can I provide for my family? How can I keep my business going? I had many worries. My wife told me not to be stressed because many people die of stress.
VOICEOVER
In order to repair his boat, Mohammed took out a loan. However, his worries persisted. Even if he were to build a new boat, it still ran the risk of sinking again in Bangladesh's increasingly turbulent storms. Mohammed heard of an initiative offering assistance to build storm-resistant boats. International and local NGOs are working on the ground to implement climate change adaptation strategies to assist fishermen like Mohammed in rebuilding their boats.
LUTFUN NAHER AZAD [Socio-Economic Development Programme/IUCN Partner]
We selected five of the most vulnerable boat owners. Their boats were repaired with the use of metal clamps. With the clamps, they can face any sudden storms. It will prevent the boat from flipping over. We provided some training on what to do. Because of this training, I think they are doing very well. Since their boats were repaired with this new technology, they have overcome their fears.
VOICEOVER
While he still owes an equivalent of USD$1,500, he has been able to repay his debt little by little.
MOHAMMED
My previous boat was weak. When I went to the sea I worried. What should I do if the waves and storms become stronger? Now, there is an iron belt around the boat. It is strong and I don't worry any more. The boat is strong. I used to fish near the shore and could not catch very many fish. Now that my boat is strong, I can go farther and catch much more. It will be good if the other boats are made stronger like mine. They will be safe from danger.
VOICEOVER
With climate change a growing reality for the people of Bangladesh, adaptation projects such as this one are becoming a necessity. For now, Mohammed is grateful that he can now fish the rougher waters of Bangladesh without fear.
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Our World 2.0
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