Asia - Pacific, Environment

Bangladesh beset by 10M climate refugees: Government

Number of climate refugees could double by 2050 amid rising sea levels, warns minister

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 26.06.2021
Bangladesh beset by 10M climate refugees: Government Rohingya children were trying to collect necessary items after a fire gutted over 10,000 tents on March 22, 2021, Photo: Md. Kamruzzaman - Anadolu Agency

DHAKA, Bangladesh

With a population of some 163 million, Bangladesh is beset by over 10 million climate refugees, despite it being the source of almost none of the emissions now warming up the planet, according to a top government official.

“More than 10 million Bangladeshis have already become climate migrants, while we continue to generously host 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingya from Myanmar at a steep ecological cost,” said Md. Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, speaking virtually at a climate dialogue on Friday.

More than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women, and children fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

The dialogue was co-organized by the Bangladesh High Commission in London and London’s Tower Hamlets Council.

Referring to the country's role as head of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Alam said: “Bangladesh, with a near-to-nil carbon footprint, ranks number seven in the Global Climate Risk Index 2020’s most at-risk country and a profound victim of global emissions.”

He warned that by 2050, rising sea levels will submerge 17% of Bangladesh’s coastlines and displace more than 20 million people.

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