Rights-based civil society representatives on Friday demanded urgent actions to safeguard women and girls who are at health and livelihood risk to the adverse effects of climate change.
They made the demand at a virtual news conference on the eve of International Rural Women's Day to be celebrated on October 15.
Speakers opined that the health, livelihood, and environment of the people of the coastal areas, lowlands, hills, and mountains have been affected the most due to the impacts of climate change.
Its impacts on food, nutrition, livelihood as well as the health of women and girls are severe, they added, saying that one of the most harmful effects of climate change can be identified is forced to use excessive saline water in daily life.
International Rural Women's Day Celebration National Committee chairperson Shamima Akhter chaired the event.
Tamanna Rahman presented the keynote speech on behalf of the organisers at the press conference.
Rahman said, climate change is harming the life, livelihood, agriculture, and health of the people of coastal, haor, char, or hilly areas. And women and girls are usually the first victims of any disaster.
According to available research, the amount of salt entering women's bodies with drinking water is causing more miscarriages in women in coastal areas than in other parts of the country.
“Due to the lack of financial ability to get long-term treatment, most marginal women consider a hysterectomy as a permanent solution, and girls are forced to wash their menstrual clothes with salt water,” Rahman added.
And the poor hygiene situation is causing various diseases in their uterus, she warned.
On the other hand, mountain women suffer from malnutrition, and on top of that many of them fall ill while collecting water along the mountain paths. The risk of child marriage is increasing in climate-affected areas.
It is important to adopt and implement special plans for the people of this region. In particular, they need to ensure their health, nutrition, livelihood, and emergency healthcare.
Masuda Farooq Rata, member of the committee said, the children of affected families are being forced to join work to earn money.
Excessive use of saline water causes various uterine diseases, the disruption of menstrual health and hygiene in girls, and skin diseases. The lack of fresh water in mountain ranges due to deforestation also creates such hazards for women and girls, said speakers.
Rights activists called to establish water purification plants at government expense in saline areas, to provide specialized services to women and girls in community clinics, and to strengthen alternative employment creation, they added.