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Amina Khatoon: "Our village just fell into the river"

Amina Khatoon, 8, lives in a village on the bank of one of several water channels that feed the Chalan Beel, an oxbow lake in northwestern Bangladesh that lies in a flood-prone region. 8 October 2008. Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN

Amina Khatoon, 8, lives in a village on the bank of one of several water channels that feed the Chalan Beel, an oxbow lake in northwestern Bangladesh that lies in a flood-prone region. Bangladesh, which has the largest floodplain in the world, drains the waters of three major river systems originating in the Himalayas — the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna, into the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.

Global warming is expected to increase glacial meltwater from the mountains, swelling the volume of water in the Himalayan rivers and bringing increased flooding to the low-lying plain.

"Three years ago we lived in another village named Dutta Kandi in Sirajganj district. There was a lot of rainfall, the river [Jamuna] flooded; there was a lot of water and our village drowned – it just fell into the river.

"At school we learned about river erosion – I think that it was that. We are getting a lot of rain, more and more rain. People also fall sick a lot now.

"My family [father, mother and two brothers] moved up here – I could not go to school because of the floods, but here I can go to school. Our school is on a boat, which comes and picks us up from our village.

"I love the 'Nauka [Boat] School'; I like the things we learn there, about river erosion and about the fish and birds in the village.

"My father died two years ago; my mother works as a day labourer to feed the family. My elder brother, who is 22, also works – he does jobs here and there.

"I want to become like Appah [term for addressing female teachers] when I grow up so I can teach other children like me in villages."

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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