Four years after Cyclone Aila ravaged the Sundarban Delta, causing saline floods and the loss of dependable food sources, grass is finally returning to the land. Recent soil data shows that salt is reducing naturally due to rainfall in the past two years. This is a good sign, as it means that farmers can return to growing staple crops, like rice, and livestock can be brought into the region and enter the diet of the severely undernourished population. GHS has been working with the people in the village Chotto Sehara since April 2012, and is happy to help people to begin to return to their normal livelihoods.
July 2013, sheep return to graze on grass surrounding rice fields
The Sundarban Delta is home to 4.5 million people, who often have poor access to roads, education, clean water, and medical attention. It is also uniquely vulnerable to climate issues due to its location. GHS is working with seven progressive local farmers, including two women, to introduce flood and salt tolerant crop varieties, and techniques in diversifying crops, shaping the land, and managing fallow land using nitrogen fixing plants in field trials. We are also working to make medical care more reliable by establishing televideo connections to doctors in more populated areas.
February 2012, many rice fields are dry and barren
February 2012, a farmer stands on a grassless hillside
Only last year, the ground in Chotto Sehara remained mostly barren, those who were fortunate enough to own livestock were forced to pay to feed them costly food, rather than allow them to graze. However, this year there has been remarkable growth in the grasses, along with the planting of nitrogen fixing plants, which has helped to reinvigorate the soil to and bring back much needed grazing animals. This is a sign that the soil is becoming more hospitable, and will allow GHS to move forward with plans to help form group farming and mixed farming projects. We believe the successes achieved in Chotto Sehara may be able spread throughout the Sundarban and pull more families and farmers out of poverty.
February 2012, cows eating out of baskets
July 2013, cows able to graze on new grasses