February 17,2017 | Source: Gulf News
A row of mangrove trees sticking out of the sand, exposed by low tide off Kutubdia island in the Bay of Bengal, is all that remains of a coastal village that for generations was home to 250 families. The villagers were forced to flee as their land, which had been slowly eroding for decades, was finally engulfed by the ever-rising tide five years ago. For the embattled people of Ali Akbar Dial, a collection of disappearing villages on the southern tip of the island in Bangladesh, the distant trees serve as a bittersweet reminder of what they have lost and a warning of what is coming. The low-lying island of Kutubdia has one of the fastest-ever sea level rises recorded in the world, placing it bang on the front line of climate change, and the islanders are fighting a battle they fear is already lost.
“I was born there, so were my parents and grandparents,” said Onu Das, 25, standing on a sandy coastal path atop a concrete embankment, pointing to a forest of mangroves. “There were mango, betel nut and coconut trees. Now we are landless and it is very difficult. We do not get food regularly. We fish. Somehow we are trying to survive.” “The ocean is torturing us,” said Pushpo Rani Das, 28, a mother of three who has had to move her home four times to escape storm