Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

Now, a House Made of Mud

Viterbo, Italy – When he built his first house in 1975, Jalaluddin Saha used bricks. In 1982, when the sea claimed his house and that of 100 families, he used bricks but built the new house farther from the shore.

In 2005 he – and 60 other families – again had to build a third house as the sea destroyed the 17 meter embankment that protected the farms.

So for his third house, the retired teacher and farmer used mud since it is cheaper than brick. He built his house in the middle of Mousuni Island, one of the 105 islands that dot India's part of the Sundarbans delta in West Bengal.

His present house is about 1.5 kilometers from his first house, nearly in the middle of Mousuni.

"Either our island is sinking or the sea is rising,” Saha said. “I do not think I have to build another house...I would not be surprised if my sons and grandsons are forced to move again.”

Today, only half of his two hectare farm is productive. Seeping salt water has rendered the rest of his farm – and nearly a fifth of Mousuni – unsuited for agriculture. They used to be able to produce three crops of rice a year, but now, only two because the monsoon rains come later.

Jalaluddin Saha and his neighbors are replanting mangrove forests and planting new crops like watermelons and green chillies to adapt to climate change and rising sea levels.

But their efforts may be futile. Since 1940, Mousuni Island has lost 11 square kilometers; it is now only 24 square kilometers. Scientists predict that in 30 years, the island will be totally submerged.


Adlai Amor is director of communications at Bread for the World. He spoke with Jalaluddin Saha at the GreenAccrod International Media Forum on the Protection of Nature, Viterbo, Italy, Nov. 25-29.

 

« A Dry Christmas Cattle by a Mongolian Lake »

Comments

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341d945753ef0120a6e593a9970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Now, a House Made of Mud:

Stay Connected

Bread for the World