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Climate Change a Reality, Wreaking Havoc across Borders

People from three countries bordering the Bay of Bengal; India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and also Nepal, have come together in the city of Bhubaneswar to discuss on climate change, its effects on the coastal communities and to debate on how these communities could mitigate the effects of the changing climate with preparedness and combined action. They are participating in a three day workshop that is being organised by RCDC among others and is being facilitated by Concern Worldwide, UNDP and European Commission. Speaking in the inaugural session the Forest and Environment Minister of Odisha Sri Debi Prasad Mishra reminded the gathering about the Super Cyclone of 1999 that wreaked extensive havoc in the coastal regions of the State. He lamented that the extreme climatic conditions being faced by the state was worsening the condition of its poverty stricken population. He delved into the past when the Bay of Bengal was known as the Kalinga Ocean because of the dominance the Odias had on the ocean who travelled across it to trade with Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand. Ironically, today that same ocean has become a threat to the Odia people because of the storms that are emanating from it and in the manner it was rushing in to cause extensive coastal erosion. He said that the State Government was concerned and keeping a close watch on the situation. He praised the efforts of the civil society organisations that were trying to study the situation and ameliorate the misery of the affected communities of the region through various means. He promised all help to these organisations and said that the Government was open to their suggestions and hoped that there would be meaningful cooperation.