Without land, Bangladesh’s Manta people live — and die — on boats
More than 30 million people around the world had to relocate within their home countries due to natural disasters in 2020, nearly 4.5 million of them in Bangladesh.
Today, Begum’s entire community -known as the Manta people — live aboard small boats on two of the nation’s major rivers. It’s a challenging way to survive — but one more Bangladeshis may be driven to adopt as climate change and sea level rise speed land erosion.
Today, increasingly intense cyclones, heavy rains and other natural disasters — like the flash floods earlier this month that stranded more than 4.5 million people and killed dozens in northeast Bangladesh are battering Manta boats and incomes.
According to a report by the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services, based in Dhaka, from 1973 to 2017 Bangladesh lost more than 162,000 hectares of land (400,310 acres) — double the size of Singapore — to three of its largest rivers.