Climate change may force 200,000 people in Bangladesh to migrate

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Worsening weather conditions are driving farmers in Bangladesh out of their homes.

Nearly 200,000 coastal residents will be forced to migrate to inland areas to find alternative livelihoods, according to a recent study. This will be caused by increased inundation and saline contamination of the soil, hitting crop production and incomes, said the study by Valerie Mueller, a research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and Joyce Chen, associate professor at Ohio State University.

“Many parts of Bangladesh are under severe threat of future sea-level submergence, but studies show the migratory response to flooding is likely to be minimal, as most farmers have already adapted their cultivation practices to cope with changes in the frequency and intensity of flooding in this deltaic region,” Mueller said in the press release on Oct. 22. “However, our study shows increased soil salinity from rising seas will push nearly 140,000 coastal residents to migrate to another location within their district, and nearly 60,000 would move to alternate districts.”

The researchers merged administrative data on migration and production, covering nearly half a million coastal households in a year, along with onsite data on environmental factors to draw associations between migration and soil