The increasing effects of climate change should be reshaping the way that we think about poverty alleviation and development. For many households, the shocks from a natural disaster can lead to increased economic and social vulnerabilities.
A young woman in her mid 20s is shoveling debris of a completely ruined house, as her mother looks on. The older woman spots the camera and says, “Look they are taking your picture, smile!” Prior to the earthquake, the family of six used to live in a two-storied house. Now the parents along with the daughter live in a dome-shaped temporary shelter built of CGI sheet, while the son lives with a cousin. The father is a sculptor at a local shop and the mother works in a small farm they own. “We are alive and safe, but our house is gone,” says the mother.
As a young child in Sylhet, Bangladesh, I remember my daily life being attached to the land. Thrills came from chasing my cousins barefoot down hot, dirt roads; from sneaking out to watch older kids play soccer in the neighboring green fields; from helping my grandmother water her crops. When it would rain, as it frequently does in Sylhet, I would anxiously wonder when it would stop.