Dhaka, Bangladesh
FAO fears extreme climate events

FAO fears extreme climate events

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) fears extreme climate events exposed danger to Bangladesh’s food production, identifying cyclones as a major crop loss factor alongside draughts and floods, as the UN body came up with its annual report on food security, reports BSS. “In Bangladesh cyclones cause increased salinity from seawater to coastal and freshwater fishery communities, negatively affecting food production due to insufficient access to freshwater,” read the latest FAO report on the state of global food security released recently. The FAO’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018 report said it found the prevalence and number of undernourished people tend to be higher in countries like Bangladesh and they were “highly exposed to climate extremes”. “Undernourishment is higher again when exposure to climate extremes is compounded by a high proportion of the population depending on agricultural systems that are highly sensitive to rainfall and temperature variability,” the report said. It said while phenomenon like draught was widely acknowledged as a crop loss factor “the effects of other climate extremes like tropical cyclone are not well quantified, though their influence . . . is evident”. Bangladesh suffered a protracted crisis after two subsequent cyclones Sidr and Aila in late last decade in southwestern coastlines as salinity intruded with tidal surges turning arable land uncultivable for years. The report said climate shocks “that affect rice production in Bangladesh often lead to higher rice prices”. “The crop destruction due to tropical cyclones can include salt damage from tides blowing inland, insufficient oxygen caused by overhead flooding, flash floods, wind damage to plants, and water stress induced by enforced respiration, all of which can occur at the same time,” the report said. The report said extreme climate events or prolonged or recurrent climate variability can lead to the collapse of coping mechanisms and the loss of livelihoods prompting “migration and destitution due to distress when people have no other viable option to sustain their livelihoods, potentially leading to starvation and death”. “In fact, the extreme climate shocks can be a significant driver of migration and forced displacement. Disasters brought on by climate- related hazards forced more than 17.5 million people to leave their homes worldwide in 2014 alone,” the FAO study said. It said most displacements induced by rapid-onset events were of short-distance and involves temporary movements but “where there are recurrent climate shocks, patterns of movement can become cyclical, pre-emptive and permanent as a result of perceived future risk”.

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