Spring/Summer 2018 Photo Essay

“Wave”

By M. R. Hasan, Photojournalist

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Abstract: As one of the major victims of anthropogenic climate change, Bangladesh is experiencing variable climatic conditions. Bangladesh is a small, yet overpopulated country in Southeast Asia with a largely agro-based economy. Climatic hazards like cyclone, flood, drought, soil salinity and river erosion are more frequent today. These two facts contribute to the increasing number of climate refugees who are forced to migrate to the cities, worsening the socio-economic problems there. The barrages built across the rivers inside the border of India have resulted in both flooding and drying of the river beds in Bangladesh.1 Major rivers like Padma, Yamuna, Meghna, Brahmaputra as well as smaller rivers in the coastal region suffer massive erosion when the water level rises. Due to prolonged droughts the temperature is increasing every year at an alarming rate. Sadly, people can’t adapt to this rapidly changing climate and are on the brink of socio-economic insecurity. The waves – whether present or absent – bring no hope for these people. When they hit, they wash away people’s valuable land as well as their livelihoods. After the waves are gone, nothing is left but parched, cracked river-beds. 

Keywords: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan, M R Hasan, Bangladesh, River Erosion, South Asia, Climate Change, Global Warming, Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Brahmaputra, Water Politics, River Politics, Redux Pictures, Flood, River Bank Erosion, Photo Story, Photo Essay, 2013, 2014, Water, Climate Migration, Climate Refugee

After the flood subsides, two friends approach the banks of the Padma River.
Location: River Padma, Mawa, Munshigonj, Bangladesh
Date: 9 September 2014

Trees and houses are submerged during the flooding of the Padma River.
Location: River Padma, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Date: 28 August 2013

People had to move away when the flood devastated this area near the Padma River.
Location: River Padma, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Date: 28 August 2013

Roads, markets and houses are swallowed up by the Padma River during the flood.
Location: River Padma, Mawa, Munshigonj, Bangladesh
Date: 20 September 2013

A building structure is being removed as the Padma River gets closer.
Location: River Padma, Mawa, Munshigonj, Bangladesh
Date: 20 September 2013

The Jamuna River is about to take over a village; many of its inhabitants have already migrated.
Location: River Jamuna, Islampur, Jamalpur, Bangladesh
Date: 5 October 2013

The river's inhabitants are always under the threat of forced migration.
Location: River Jamuna, Islampur, Jamalpur, Bangladesh
Date: 4 October 2013

Cattle in search of food; the flood destroys the green fields of their usual habitat.
Location: River Padma, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Date: 28 August 2013

Rather than move, many people struggle to live with the flood as they have no other place to go.
Location: River Padma, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Date: 28 August 2013

A large number of cattle were washed out by the force of the flood.
Location: River Padma, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Date: 28 August 2013

Many areas of the Sirajgonj district are under great danger from serious river erosion.
Location: River Jamuna, Sirajgonj, Bangladesh
Date: 20 December 2014

This river resident, who lost her house to river erosion, plans to migrate.
Location: River Jamuna, Islampur, Jamalpur, Bangladesh
Date: 5 October 2013

This fisherman on the river Padma doesn't have an alternative place to move to if the river swallows up his home.
Location: River Padma, Mawa, Munshigonj, Bangladesh
Date: 9 September 2014

This fisherman's livelihood depends entirely on the Padma River.
Location: River Padma, Mawa, Munshigonj, Bangladesh
Date: 9 September 2014

This family may have to move away as the Padma River is about to flood their home.
Location: River Padma, Mawa, Munshigonj, Bangladesh
Date: 9 September 2014

Children playing on the eroded riverbank.
Location: River Jamuna, Islampur, Jamalpur, Bangladesh
Date: 5 October 2013

A woman bathes in the Padma River.
Location: River Padma, Mawa, Munshigonj, Bangladesh
Date: 9 September 2014

A riverside resident near the Padma River.
Location: River Padma, Mawa, Munshigonj, Bangladesh
Date: 9 September 2014

People bathing in the Jamuna River.
Location: River Jamuna, Sirajgonj, Bangladesh
Date: 20 December 2014

An embankment at the Padma River that protects the town of Sirajgonj.
Location: River Jamuna, Sirajgonj, Bangladesh
Date: 20 December 2014

Workers bring sand to dump at the river bank to protect their villages from flooding.
Location: River Jamuna, Islampur, Jamalpur, Bangladesh
Date: 5 October 2013

This view of the river Padma seems tranquil, but during the flood it changes.
Location: River Padma, Mawa, Munshigonj, Bangladesh
Date: 9 September 2014

Man checks the vulnerability of the river bank.
Location: River Padma, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Date: 26 August 2013

The waves of the Padma River.
Location: River Padma, Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Date: 28 August 2013

Endnotes

1 See this report on the impact of Farakka barrage on the human fabric by Manisha Banerjee, on behalf of South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP).
http://buwa.in/gangajal.org.in/Material/impct_frka_wcd.pdf

Mohammad Rakibul Hasan is a documentary photographer and visual artist. He is currently pursuing a Certificate of Higher Education in the History of Art at the University of Oxford and also studying an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. Hasan holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Photojournalism from Ateneo de Manila University and also graduated in Film & Video Production from UBS Film School at the University of Sydney. He has been nominated for many international awards and won several photographic competitions worldwide. His photographs have been published and exhibited internationally. He is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh and represented by Redux Pictures, USA.