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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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To help combat community dislocation by flooding, the NGO Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha runs a fleet of over 50 floating schools and libraries. © Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos 2010


Bangladesh map

Map of Bangladesh showing the flood-prone Ganges River Delta. [+] Click image to enlarge.


Ganges River delta

Satelilite image of Ganges River Delta. Photo courtesy of Nasa. [+] Click image to enlarge.

80% of the land area is prone to flooding
25% of all deaths are caused by water-related diseases
Nearly 3,000 people inhabit every square mile

Most of Bangladesh lies close to sea level at the world's largest river delta—the Ganges River Delta at the mouth of the Bay of Bengal. With a population of some 160 million, Bangladesh is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world—2.5 times more densely populated than the most densely populated state in the U.S.—New Jersey.

Rising sea levels due to climate change and the development of large dams in neighboring India exacerbate flooding in the monsoon season and drought in the dry months. Experts estimate that climate change will lead to over 20 million refugees in Bangladesh by 2050, along with widespread crop failure, destruction of fisheries, and loss of biodiversity.

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