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Impact of Rohingya crisis on the resilience of coastal community in Bangladesh: GIS and satellite remote sensing analysis of deforestation

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Impact of Rohingya crisis on the resilience of coastal community in Bangladesh: GIS and satellite remote sensing analysis of deforestation

Abstract

Abstract: Since 25 August, 2017, approximately 655,000 refugees settled in Bangladesh as of 11 December 2017. Most of these refugees are settled in Teknaf and Ukhiya sub-district under Cox’s Bazar. World’s largest and most densely populated refugee camp is also settled here. On the other hand, this is one of the most vulnerable regions of Bangladesh, already struggling to cope with the regular natural hazard and the impact of climate change. A significant deforestation was observed in this region due to the rapid expansion of Rohingya settlements and their practice of cutting trees for firewood collection in cooking purpose. Degradation of a natural resource like forest increases the vulnerability of the host community to climate change and natural disaster. Also, Rohingya influx has potential impact on the local ecosystem such as land slide, biodiversity loss etc. This study aims to address the trend of forest cover change following the refugee influx and recommend policies in response to the crisis. GIS and Satellite remote sensing technique were used to detect the deforestation occurred in surrounding areas of Rohingya settlements. This vegetation at the southern coast of Bangladesh plays a vital role in the climate change adaptation and mitigation process in the region. This study reveals a major loss of vegetation cover following the refugee influx. The satellite image analysis shows a drastic change in vegetation cover in the year 2017. This year, total vegetation cover decreased by 2099.34 Hectares. These changes are significant because this assessment was done just after 3.5 months of massive Rohingya influx. In 2018, vegetation cover decreased by 357.39 Hectares. If this trend continues, it will seriously threaten the resilience of the coastal community. Keywords- forests, Rohingya refugees, climate change, vegetation, remote sensing, GIS, resilience
Impact of Rohingya crisis on the resilience
of coastal community in Bangladesh:
GIS and satellite remote sensing analysis of
deforestation
_______________________________________
Sakib Imtiaz
M.S. (Disaster Management)
Email: sakibimage@gmail.com
The latest Rohingya refugee influx began
since 25 August 2017.
Approximately, 655,000 refugees settled in
Bangladesh (as of 11 December 2017.)
Mostly settled in Teknaf and Ukhiya sub-
district under Cox’s Bazar.
Cox's Bazar is Bangladesh's top local tourism
spot, famed for the world's longest natural sea
beach.
Refugee settlements are in one of the most
climate vulnerable regions of Bangladesh.
Background
Rohingya settlements in Teknaf.
Background
Massive deforestation caused by
Rapid expansion of Refugee
settlements;
Rohingyas practice of cutting
trees for firewood collection in
cooking purpose.
This forest at the southern coast of
Bangladesh plays a vital role in the
climate adaptation and mitigation
process. Rohingya people are carrying firewood into the
refugee camp.
Degradation of forest increases the climate vulnerability
Impact on the local ecosystem such as land slide, biodiversity loss etc.
Two satellite images of the
Kutupalong refugee camp
in Cox's Bazar,
Bangladesh, taken a year
apart show how trees and
vegetation have vanished
while the camp expands.
The images contain
modified Copernicus
Sentinel-2 data, 2017 &
2018. (Melanie Macdonald/
Geospatial Analyst).
Source: Toronto Star Before influx
(Feb. 8, 2017) After influx
(Feb. 28, 2018)
Background
Objective of the study
The objective of the study is
To address the trend of forest cover change
following the refugee influx;
To recommend policies in response to the crisis.
Study Area
Two adjacent sub-districts of Cox's Bazar
district in the division of Chittagong,
Bangladesh:
a) Teknaf sub-district (20.8667°N 92.3000°E)
b) Ukhiya sub-district (21.2833°N 92.1000°E)
Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary (also called Teknaf
Game Reserve), a reserved forest. It
comprises an area of 11,615 hectares.
(The study excludes St. Martin’s Island, a part of Teknaf
and the southernmost point of Bangladesh.)
Teknaf
Ukhiya
Satellite Bands
Date of Acquisition
Landsat 8
1 to 7 and 9
02 March 2018
Landsat 8
1 to 7 and 9
28 December 2017
Landsat 8
1 to 7 and 9
23 November 2016
Landsat 8
1 to 7 and 9
07 December 2015
Landsat 8
1 to 7 and 9
04 December 2014
Data characteristics of satellite imageries
Data and Methodology
Source: U.S. Geological Survey Archive
Secondary documents including UN reports were used to address the
consequences of deforestation and find out linkage between coastal resilience
and Rohingya influx.
Multispectral satellite data (Landsat 08
with 30 m spatial resolution) were used
in this study.
Satellite images were collected from
the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and
2018
GIS and Satellite remote sensing technique were used to detect the
deforestation occurred in surrounding areas of Rohingya settlements.
The general classification
scheme from the site of
United States Geological
Survey (USGS 2017) was
adopted.
The vegetation cover
change analysis was done
by determining the total
area occupied by vegetation
and comparing the quantities
from different years.
For calculations of the NDVI data, the
following formula was used:
(Band 5 - Band 4)
(Band 5 + Band 4)
NDVI =
Data and Methodology
Types of Land Cover
NDVI Value
Barren rock, sand, or snow
0.1 or less
Sparse vegetation
0.2 to 0.5
Dense vegetation
0.6 to 0.9
Source: USGS 2017
Results and Discussion
Year No. of
pixels Area
(hectare)
Area change
(hectare)
2014 563913 50752.17 -
2015 564335 50790.15 37.98
2016 568427 51158.43 368.28
2017 545101 49059.09 -2099.34
2018 541130 48701.7 -357.39
2014 2015 2016 2017
50752.17 50790.15
51158.43
49059.09
Area (hectare)
Year
Vegetation cover in Teknaf-Ukhiya
Drastic change in vegetation cover
in the year 2017 just after 3.5 months
of Rohingya influx.
Total vegetation cover decreased by
2099.34 hectares in Teknaf-Ukhiya.
Vegetation cover change in Teknaf-Ukhiya:
Year No. of
pixels Area
(hectare) Area
change
(hectare)
2014 127200 11448.00 -
2015 127684 11491.56 43.56
2016 127417 11467.53 - 24.03
2017 126274 11364.66 - 102.87
2014 2015 2016 2017
11448
11491.56 11467.53
11364.66
Area (hectare)
Year
Vegetation cover change in TWS
Vegetation cover change in Teknaf wildlife sanctuary (TWS):
Results and Discussion
Total vegetation cover
decreased by 102.87 hectares in
Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary (reserved
forest) in the year 2017 just after
3.5 months of Rohingya influx.
Results and Discussion
41,751 (est.) refugees were in areas at
highest risk of landslides and
prioritized for relocation
24,401 refugees have been relocated
from areas at highest risk of landslides
20,040 (est.) refugees (4,983HH) remain in areas at highest risk of landslides
and prioritized for relocation Source: ISCG
Rohingya Crises and Climate Resilience:
Vulnerable Rohingya settlements at the hillside.
246,600 Estimated refugees were
at risk of landslides or floods. Of
these, as of 5 August 2018:
Types of
disaster # Incidents # persons
affected
# Households
affected
Landslide 334 15,991 3,640
Wind/Storm 201 26,056 5,529
Flood 47 5,898 1,458
Fire 16 217 56
-
42 3,367 766
Disaster incidents at the Rohingya camps
(From 11 May to 18 September 2018)
Results and Discussion
Source: ISCG
201 incidents of
storm/wind occurred
affecting 5,529
households (26,056
individuals).
Refugee camp falls within
the corridor which was used
by the elephants to migrate
from one forest to another.
9 people were killed by
elephant attack.
334 incidents of
landslides occurred
affecting 3,640
households (15,991
individuals).
Deforestation
Landslide Wind/Storm/Cyclone Human-
Elephant
conflict
Results and Discussion
Consequence of Deforestation on the resilience of Coastal community:
Recommendations
The future climate change adaptation policy for Bangladesh need to
incorporate a strategy for the areas of Rohingya refugee settlements
and the host community.
Need to establish a climate resilient humanitarian response
framework considering natural resource management during
humanitarian crisis;
Need to involve the UNFCCC (UN Climate Change) in Rohingya
crises;
In case of a long-term aspect, government needs to prepare a plan
for relocation of Rohingyas in different parts of the country gradually;
Recommendations
Forest restoration program must be run in a planned way.
Distribution of vetiver grass and other plants in the camp without
proper planning and training will not be effective. Significant
proportion of the grass planted in 2018 died due to the timing and
locations of the planting. So implementing agencies should be
provided with proper training on plantation and maintenance; and
Need to scale up environment friendly technology for cooking
such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders and improved
stoves to reduce the pressure on firewood.
Thank You
Impact of Rohingya crisis on the resilience of coastal community in Bangladesh:
GIS and satellite remote sensing analysis of deforestation
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