A Web of Vulnerabilities: Eco-fragility, Poor Livelihoods and Cyclones in Sundarban Region, India
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This paper examines the nature and characteristics of the Sundarban Delta and juxtaposes them with disasters that threaten and reshape the region—its flora, fauna, the people and their livelihoods. It elaborates on the rich biodiversity of the delta and elucidates the problems faced by the local population, largely poor and dependent on natural resources, which are dwindling. A dynamic and longitudinal approach reveals how pressure cascades into distress and pushes people out of their villages to look for a livelihood in order to survive. The paper highlights the need for more involved forms of governance for the region especially from the perspective of proactive disaster management while taking account of the long-term needs of the human population and the environment, which are specific to this unique area. With rising sea levels, Sundarbans is one of the major climate change hot spots on the globe.
The first draft of this paper was developed during the residency programme of the Rockefellar Foundation at Bellagio, Italy. The support provided to develop this idea is gratefully acknowledged.
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