Climate refugees


Cameraman Francisco films children enjoing the mud. It looks like a lot of fun, but also bears serious health risks.

The UN estimates that there will be about 350 million climate refugees in the world. People are loosing their livelihood due to climate change and other environmental influences.

NGOs estimate the number of climate refugees is currently at 25 million. Much more people flee nature disasters, desertification and karst formation than political conflicts.

Western nations share the responsibility in these developments. Climate change causes drought, raise of the sea level and storm floods. Fertile land is abused, water is stolen from farmers and fishing grounds are exploited. “Planet e“ went to Senegal and Bangladesh to explore the reasons: Why do people have to leave their home? Where do they go? Which perspectives do they have?



Many Bangladeshis, who flee the floods often end up in the slums of Dhaka

Koko Warner of UN-University Bonn tries to find out about the roots of the problems. She travels to Bangladesh on a regular basis and meets families, who had to move to the slums of the capital Dhaka. Changing environment is not an accepted reason for asylum, which makes the situation for those people especially difficult.

Inundations is not only a problem in Asia, also Africa’s West-coast has to deal with vanishing villages and fields of land. Officially Senegal is a safe country of origin, but in reality people have to deal with loads of problems, that are not home-made.


Wenn der Drehort im Überschwemmungsgebiet Bangladeschs liegt, dann muss auch unser Kamerateam durch die Fluten waten.

The government has sold the fishing privileges to European and Japanese companies. They use huge trawlers for fishing which emptied the coastal waters in Senegal. Most of the fishing villages disappear. Big estates are leased to international enterprises, which produce oil for Western markets. They drain water from the surrounding areas, which is the main reason why the farmers don’t have sufficient water for their fields. 2014 around 1.000 Senegalese migrated to Germany, this year there will be much more.

The report is a Kelvinfilm production.


In stagnant waters there might be parasitea, mosquitos, excrements and snakes . Mediawok-Reporter Christina Grawe smiles anyways.

The dirty business of ship wrecking in Bangladesh

Chittagong in Bangladesch is one of the biggest scrapyards. Ships from all over the world are broken down into pieces, amongst them are ships that were once built in Germany. Hundreds of people are working and welding barefoot without any protective clothing inside the gigantic ocean liners. It is called “beaching”, when the huge ships go ashore fullspeed.

The people work barefoot and without protective clothing.

The people work barefoot and without protective clothing.

Accidents and even deaths occur often, but there is no official record. The scraping companies try to hide these accidents. There is no effective labour law or protection in Bangladesh and no environmental specifications. Contaminated slush seeps into groundwater.

Jeder Tag beim "Shipbreaking" bedeutet ein Risiko für die Arbeiter, denn jedes Jahr verunglücken Dutzende.

Everyday these workers have to take a risk, many die at the scrapyard.

Endstation Bangladesch: Trümmer und Wrackteile wohin das Auge reicht.

Final station Bangladesh: debris and wreckage as far as the eye can reach.

You can watch the full report at ZDF media center here.

This film was initiated by Kelvinfilm.