Le Monde
29 June 2016

A land we can trust

An island disappears on average after twelve years. Life is precarious, temporary. Nothing grows high in the vicinity. The few eucalyptus are cut by locals before the river only carries them. The horizon is desperately flat and empty. Only a thin silhouetted sky like shadows, plowing the land during the dry season, or dipping their nets during the monsoon, hoping to catch a handful of fish fry. The river encloses the islands and their inhabitants in a world apart, far from the mainland, the still life, development.

Shaina dream to live on a “land in which we can trust, who does not shirk under our feet, taking our lives with”. But it is too expensive, even on the banks of the river, which is one or two hours by boat. On the islands, the price of land is calculated according to the distance from the river, and thus their risk of erosion. Moreover, in most cases, the rent a few years back to buy because the islands are destined to disappear. In their center, where life lasts a little longer than in the periphery, the less poor live. When the most vulnerable must start rebuilding their lives elsewhere, on another island, they must pay an “installation fee” to their new owner, donate him a tithe of their crops or raise cattle.

A study by the Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), which depends on the Bangladeshi Ministry of Water Resources predicts an increase of 10% of the rise of the river and worsening erosion 20% in this region by 2050. The raw, swollen by the melting of Himalayan glaciers and the release of water by Indian dams upstream may overwhelm the islands.

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Furniture on the bank waiting to be removed with the rest of the

Local people moving their house to find another place - island.

When moving a house to an island on the other, two young men car

Sarker Protick_Le Monde_0004

To rebuild their lives elsewhere, on another island, some must p

Each time the inhabitants of an island are forced to move out an

Several weeks a year, residents must live on the surface of the


Trees were felled by the owners of the land before they leave th

Access to basic services such as health or education, must adapt

Villagers prepare jute sticks for sale at market.

A community of houses from the last month.

Shaina lives in tanks, islands that appear and disappear with th

Sandbars that appear are the property of the government, the mos

An island disappears on average after twelve years. Nothing grow

Cattle crossing the river.

A man casts his net a bank eaten by the Jamuna River