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As hungry tides devour the islands, West Bengal’s last outposts in the Bay of Bengal abandoned | India News

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CALCUTTA: Mousuni and Ghoramara, Bengal’s last outposts in the Bay of Bengal, are finally being abandoned. Hit by four cyclones in 24 months (Fani in May 2019, Bulbul in November 2019, Amphan in May 2020 and Yaas in May 2021), the resistance of the 23,000 residents battling adversity on these islands increasingly reduced areas of the Sunderbans Archipelago has collapsed. and many are quitting. They have decided to leave the dangerous existence behind and walk towards an equally uncertain future.
“We have seen enough. Every year some of us lose our homes as the sea relentlessly gnaws on the island. We were about to survive until the storm surge from Cyclone Yaas took away everything we owned. Somehow we have managed to save our lives. Next time, we may not even be so lucky, ”said Majed Shah, a Bagdanga mouja resident on the island who has become a climate refugee like many others and has moved into a relative’s home in Frazerganj.
Shah (55) was born in Mousuni and once owned two bighas of land, but the hungry tides had reduced it to a small patch. That was also lost in last month’s cyclone. The great tidal waves that washed away houses on the Twin Islands have yet to recede and the salty water has destroyed farmland and killed livestock. Ghoramara residents Gobindo Karak and Tapas Karak, both farmers, have lost their farms where rice and betel vines grew. The repeated wrath of cyclones and rising sea water have broken their will to fight and survive. The duo have joined the exodus with their families. “I can’t take this life of uncertainty anymore. I moved into a cousin’s house in Kakdwip. I hope to buy a small plot of land and settle there permanently, ”said Gobinda Karak, who has managed to rescue four cows and six lambs. Tapas Karak has also sent his family to a relative’s home near Kakdwip and is trying to salvage everything he can from their irreparably damaged home.
The Mousuni and Ghoramara Islands are located about 120 km from Calcutta in the extreme south of the state and are among the most remote permanently inhabited islands in the Bay of Bengal.
Professor at the School of Oceanography at Jadavpur University, Sugata Hazra, who has been studying the islands since 2000 and had raised the alarm about the loss of the islands due to rising seas, said the size of the island of Ghoramara , which was about eight square kilometers, has been reduced to less than half. “People who lived in the heart of the island and had not been rehabilitated in the Sagar Islands in the 1990s are now at the edge of the sea and at the mercy of nature,” he said.



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