Courtesy of Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
Mohammad Rakibul Hasan is a documentary photographer, filmmaker and visual artist. He is currently pursuing an MA in Photography at Falmouth University, UK. He holds an Undergraduate Certificate in Higher Education in History of Art from Oxford University, pursued a Postgraduate Diploma in Photojournalism from Ateneo de Manila University and also graduated in Film & Video Production from UBS Film School at the University of Sydney. He was nominated for many international awards and won hundreds of photographic competitions worldwide including Lucie Award, Human Rights Press Award and Allard Prize. His photographs have been published and exhibited internationally. He is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh and represented by Redux Pictures, ZUMA Press, USA and a contributing journalist for the Daily Star and Reuters. Hasan is also a consultant photographer and documentary filmmaker for Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank, FAO of the United Nations, UN Women, USAID, Water Aid and major iNGOs. He is a Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Fellow. Hasan is also a faculty member of Counter Foto, a photography and visual art institution in Bangladesh.
Student: Winning Entry: Salt
Low-lying coastal areas of Bangladesh are speculated to be submerged due to sea level rise as the world temperature continues to go up. This situation is worsened by immediate natural calamities like cyclones and tidal floods. As the rising sea levels and unusually high tidal waves encroach the lowlands of Bangladesh, the coastal areas face increased salinity. In dry season, when the flows of upstream water reduce drastically, the saline water goes up to 240 kilometers inside the country and reaches distant regions. The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. 60 percent of Sundarbans is shared in Bangladesh while the rest of it lies in West Bengal of India. Sundarbans works as the shock absorber of natural disasters in the coastal regions of Bangladesh, partially protecting the communities from the surge of tidal waves and gust of cyclone. However, as agricultural lands continue to diminish, a lot of people are being forced deeper into the jungle for procuring livelihood by means like honey or firewood collection. This makes them victim of deadly Royal Bengal Tigers.
The Last Savings
The world is at risk of widespread famines caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The impact of global economic devastation caused by Covid-19 has already declared as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the Second World War. The number suffering from hunger could go from 135 million to more than 250 million. For Bangladesh it has become a human and food crisis catastrophe both.
House maid Hamida Begum who is now out of work said, “We only have forty Taka (Less than US fifty cents) at home. We have to drink poison, if we cannot go out for work. Who will save us from hunger?” The sufferings of approximately 7 million slum dwellers around Dhaka city are multiplying due to fall in income and price hike of consumer goods. There is hardly any food supply left in low income people’s houses, let alone ensuring cleanliness.
Most slum dwellers living in different parts of the capital no longer worrying about the virus and its infection but what worries them is hunger as they cannot go out for work. Their empty food storage and remaining little food supply can not save them from starvation and hunger in coming days.
37 years old Hamida Begum works as house maid. She and her daily laborer husband both are now jobless. The little food supply they have now won’t last in their five members family. Hamida Begum said, “We only have forty taka now. We have to drink poison, if we cannot go out for work. Who will save us from hunger?”
30-years old Kulsum Begum is struggling with her three children since her husband died last year. After lock down she is staying at home and lost her housemaid job. Only food her family has is insufficient to run a few days. She has no one in the city that can help her to survive.
35 years old Shipli Rani Shiuli lost her job after Government announced lockdown in Bangladesh. She is the sole breadwinner and takes care of her two sons since her husband left her. She has little groceries that will last for maximum two days now. With no income she has no idea how she will be able to manage food for coming days.
Textile worker Helena Begum (35) lost her job as her factory layoff last month. She along her five years old daughter Shakiba and elderly mother are now staying half feed almost every day. Helena’s husband left the family after she gave birth to a daughter. She has no one to help her with loan or temporary aid.
Aklima (35) is standing with her one and half year-old daughter Suborna in their one bed-room slum house. She sends her three children in the village as they are unable to manage food for the family now. Every morning she along her rickshaw pullar husband and child only drinking water. With little food left she can only cook once a day.
Firoza Begum (50) has been working as house maid for last thirty years. This is first time due to lock down she is unable to work. Her two sons lost their job recently. Like other slum dwellers she and her family are struggling for daily food supply. Firoza with her two grandchildren Fahima (left) and Selina (right) are feeling uncertain about their future. She doesn’t know when they will be able to eat trice a day again.
House maid Kohinoor Begum and her security guard husband Abul Kashem both are now staying at home. Due to lockdown Kohinoor lost her job. The only house they had in their village went in river. During their three years stay in Dhaka they never face such poverty and hardship before. With little food supply and thirty-taka cash their five members family fear to starve in coming days.
40-years old Anowara Begum works as house maid. She and her rickshaw pullar husband can no longer work due to lock down. They along their three children are eating once a day to save their remaining grocery. She calls her previous employer for help with food aid. If lock down continues, she fears her family will be in the street to beg or to die.
Sahara Khatun’s (60) only son works in a hospital as peon. He stops going to work since the hospital is lock down for virus outbreak. Now Sahara with her disable husband is spending days of uncertainty and starvation. The little food supplies the family possess will run a day or two.
House maid Kulsum Begum (38) fears for her daughter Runa’s (15) safety under lock down. She is looking for food aid since the day her employer dismissed her job. As a single parent she is unable to provide enough and now both mother and daughter are almost starving daily basis.
Siuli Begum (22) survived an abusive marriage and moved to Dhaka with her son Mehedi (3). House maid Siuli is no longer continuing her work due to lock down. At present she has almost no food supply to eat at next day. When her child cries for food she gives him biscuit as there is little rice left in the house.
Khadiza Begum (38) is carrying her daughter Sumaiya (2). She along her husband sells pickle in the street. After lock down they are not able to go out in the street. As soon as they are out of income, they are now left without food supply. After paying 4000-taka house rent they now have no money left to buy daily grocery or food supply.