DELTAS, VULNERABILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: MIGRATION AND ADAPTATION (DECMA)
March 18, 2019
According to an international study titled Deltas, Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECMA), Economic reasons are the precipitating factor for migration in the Indian Bengal Delta that comprises the Sunderbans.
Coverage: The study, held between 2014 and 2018 focusing on three deltas Ganga Brahmaputra Meghna Delta (India and Bangladesh) Volta (Ghana) and Mahanadi (India) looks into the aspect of climate change, adaptation and migration in these deltas. In India, the study covered 51 blocks of districts of South and North 24 Parganas.
Migration in Indian Bengal Delta:
64% of people migrate because of economic reasons, unsustainable agriculture, lack of economic opportunities and debt; 28 % of the migration from the region is for social reasons and about 7% for environmental reasons like cyclones and flooding.
There is huge gender disparity among those migrating from the region. Of the people migrating, 83% are men and only 17 % are women. Most of the men migrate due to economic reasons, women do so, driven by mostly social factors.
Most migrants are young, in the age group of 20-30 years.
51% of migration from the Indian Bengal Delta is to other areas of the State particularly to Kolkata, 10% to Maharashtra, 9% to Tamil Nadu, 7% Kerala and 6% to Gujarat.
57% of migration is seasonal, where people move once or twice a year; 19% is circular where those migrating move thrice a year irrespective of reasons and 24% permanent where people intend to stay for at least six months in the place they are migrating to.
One of the reasons for migration is failed adaptation in the areas which are under stress due to climate change.
Vulnerable areas: The areas of Gosaba, Basanti, Kultali, Sagar, Kakdwip, Namkhana, Canning and Mathurapur (all in South 24 Parganas) have high levels of agriculture dependency and so are sensitive to climate hazards such as flood and salinity.