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Monsoon Season Rains & Coastal Erosion

Bangladesh - July 15-30, 2015
Bangladesh is considered to be one of the countries most susceptible to climate change. Due to its unique geographic location, dominance of flood plains, low elevation, high population density and high levels of poverty, Bangladesh is a place increasingly vulnerable to the effects of our changing planet. The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change predicts that rising sea levels and swelling rivers could devour close to 20% of Bangladesh by the year 2050, displacing at least 20 million people if not more. On average about 11 Bangladeshis an hour are losing their homes.
 
In addition to the changing climate, Bangladesh is also one of the wettest countries in the world, with most parts of the country receiving over 2000mm of rainfall a year. A warm and humid monsoon season lasts from June to October and supplies the country with 80% of their fresh water rain for the year. Although this water may be important for daily life, coupled with climate change it is only making flood levels higher and land more scarce.
I visited the country to film an episode of Angry Planet with the aim of learning more about how the people living there cope with the increasing threat from natural disasters.

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We visited the country at a time when the monsoon rainy season coincided with the celebration of Ramadan.
Because of Ramadan, there were a LOT of people travelling. This was one of the train stations in the capital of Dhaka.
The population density in Dhaka is one of the highest in the world, so it is chaotic on a good day. Here I walk along the tracks as people fill the trains inside and out.

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The rain clears for a few minutes and a rainbow over Dhaka port appears.
The Meghna River.
Small boats and huge ships share the Meghna river, in Dhaka.

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We were in Dhaka for Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, the biggest event in the Islamic calendar. We had the opportunity to film at one of the biggest mosques in the country (perhaps it was the biggest)
A couple of the countless men, exiting the mosque after the prayer session marking the end of Ramadan. So many came over to me and gave me hugs, wishing me "Eid Mubarek". They were so friendly to me, our local guide had to drag me away from the crowd.
Monsoon season rains flood a street in Dhaka. Just another day in Bangladesh.

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Huge numbers of people resettle to Dhaka after losing their land in the south due to soil erosion. Many move to the city to drive rickshaws.
Getting right into it, delivering a bit to camera in the water.
Living with frequent flooding is simply a way of life in Bangladesh.

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While mostly Muslim, there are also plenty of Hindus in Bangladesh. I joined in on the Rath Yatra festivities as well. This was my second Rath Yatra festival.
Taking the ferry across the Padma (Ganges) River.
A very crowded ferry.

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In the Sundarbans area in southern Bangladesh.
Fishing boats in the Sundarbans.
We arrive at a small village.

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Makeshift retaining walls help to prevent some erosion, but it is a losing battle.
Chatting with a local family. They have had to move their home because their land eroded away. It used to be behind me.
The land is made of mostly very fine silt, which washes away in storms, high tides, and waves.

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This was our home for a few days, while in the Sundarbans.
A woman, fishing. She's dragging a net along the bottom.
A young boy, fishing.

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Monitor lizard in a tree.
Many of the people in the southern part of the country are subsistence fishermen.
Casting his net.

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Deer are the main food source for the rarely seen Bengal tiger, however, they do attack villagers. We heard one village sound an alarm due to suspected tiger encroachment.
A Mugger Crocodile. An ambush hunter, and one of 3 species found in Bangladesh.
One of many Rhesus monkeys we saw in the Sundarbans mangrove forest.

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Mama rhesus monkey and baby.
We visited Charfassion boys orphanage on Bhola island. Many of these kids lost their parents in storms and cyclones. They greeted us warmly, and we had a great day visiting them.
This kid at the orphanage followed me everywhere. He was stuck to me like glue the entire day.

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Typical street scene in Bangladesh.

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