Life is extremely precarious for the residents of Sutarkhali, Tildanga, Banishanta, Bajua, Laudob, Kamarkhola, and Dakope unions – living on the edge of the rivers Shibsa, Pasur, Dhaki, Bhadra, Chunkuri in Khulna.
Strong fears of unrest and eviction are always breathing down their neck. Without warning, tidal floods can rise and surge over the place they call home, leaving devastation in their wake.
It is a small zone of calm amid chaos, ferocious rains and wanton destruction. Here people follow the whims of the weather like one would not believe. Figuring out how to get to safety if a storm is coming is always on their mind.
Sixty-one-year-old Chhayra Begum from Dakope lives next to the River Chunkuri. She has no son and married off her two daughters.
The husbandless Chhayra lives in a nipa palm thatched house – partly swallowed by the river – and does not have a private toilet. She has to go to her neighbour's house or to the riverside to answer the call of nature.
The sexagenarian uses a bamboo bridge to return home. She catches fish from the river with hooks to eke out a living.
Chhayra earns Tk80 to Tk100 from selling the catch of the day in the Dakope Bazaar which is barely enough to get by.
She has to walk one mile every day to fetch drinking water from the filter set up next to the pond of sadar upazila.
Chhayra draws water from the river for cooking and uses alum as a purifier.