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'We have seen the enemy': Bangladesh's war against climate change

(The Guardian, 09 May 12) Devastating cyclones, floods and ruined crops have made Bangladesh 'the world's most aware society on climate change'.

Rebecca Sultan's life has been shattered twice in a few years. First, the 140mph winds of Cyclone Sidr ripped through her village, Gazipara, flattening houses, killing 6,000 people and devastating the lives of millions as it slammed into southern Bangladesh in 2007.

Then, 18 months later, as Sultan was recovering, Cyclone Aila tore in from the Bay of Bengal with torrential rains, breaching the coastal embankments and flooding her fields with salt water.

Storms of this intensity historically happen in Bangladesh once every 20 to 30 years. But two "super-cyclones" in two years, followed by a narrow escape when super-cyclone Nargis killed 100,000 people in nearby Burma a year later, convinced Sultan and her village, as well as many sceptics in government, that climate change was happening and Bangladesh's very survival was at stake.

The Guardian, 09 May 12: 'We have seen the enemy': Bangladesh's war against climate change


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