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Journalist Megan Rowling explores the concept of 'crisis migration' and what can be done about it

Digging migration policy out of a crisis

The complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands that make up the Sundarbans mangrove forest of South Asia is in constant flux. And so are its people.

The Sundarbans stretch across the border between India and Bangladesh, but many of the largely poor families who live there treat it as one ecosystem. When their homes come under threat from erosion and rising seas, or are flooded by storm surges, they often move to another island and sometimes, in doing so, to another country.

On the Indian side, there are two main types of migrant, writes Sahana Bose, assistant professor at Karnataka's Manipal University, in the latest issue of the journal Forced Migration Review (FMR). You'll find Indian Sundarbans dwellers shifting from one island to another, alongside rural Bangladeshis infiltrating the porous border, who are recognised neither by their own government as Bangladeshi citizens nor by India as "climate refugees".


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