UK to 'climate-proof' Bangladesh

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London, September 10 : The UK is giving 133 million dollars to 'climate-proof' Bangladesh, i.e., it would help the country prepare for the impacts of climate change.

According to a report by BBC, the money will go on measures such as protecting houses, schools and farms against flooding, and introducing new crop strains.

Aid agencies have welcomed the move, but say poorer countries will need much more money to adapt to climate change.

UN resources for climate adaptation are badly under-funded, they say. The resources currently available for adaptation are grossly inadequate.

"But more money will be needed to combat impacts of climate change - that's indisputable - and it should be new money, because it should be compensation for changes we've caused through our industrialization," John Magrath, programme researcher on climate change with Oxfam, told BBC News.

Oxfam believes - as do some other organisations - that about 50 billion dollars per year is needed globally to help poorer nations "climate-proof" their societies and economies.

"Climate change is today's crisis, not tomorrow's risk and is already affecting millions of people in Bangladesh," observed the UK's International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.

"But Bangladesh is resilient, and is setting an example to other vulnerable countries with its innovative approach to adapting to the changing climate," he added.

Floods are already part of life for the world's seventh most populous country, i.e., Bangladesh.

The problem is expected to become more serious as global warming induces a strengthening of tropical storms and the monsoon.

Some of the UK funding would be used to put existing classrooms - and new ones - on stilts or floating platforms, according to Chris Austin, head of the Department for International Development's (DfID) Dhaka office.

"That way, if the area becomes flooded, the schools don't become unusable," he told BBC news. "The government is also talking about building multi-purpose cyclone shelters that could also act as clinics or schools," he added.

"Other proposals in Bangladesh's climate action plan include raising the level of polders (sea defences) in the Bay of Bengal, increasing the height of embankments that protect residential areas or lands where crops are grown, and the introduction of seeds tolerant to salt or arsenic," said Austin.

"Least Developed Countries (LDCs), including Bangladesh, need immediate international support to build their resilience to global warming and climate change," said Mirza Azizul Islam, finance advisor to the Bangladesh government.

"The resources currently available for adaptation are grossly inadequate to meet the needs of the LDCs who bear the brunt of increased climate variability and unpredictability resulting from climate change," he added.

ANI

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