Cyclones and storms tend to occur in this region of the Sundarbans during the months of May to December period with the incidence being greatest in May, and in the post monsoon months of October and November. The communities living adjacent to waterways encounter tidal bores often associated with cyclonic storms that occur with little warning. The tidal surges into the estuary system push saline water over embankments into agricultural fields, severely damaging crops and wreck kutcha houses and embankments. Additionally, summer thunderstorms sometimes bring hail downfalls that ruin the harvest ready crops.
Climatically and topographically challenged, the vulnerability of the area has been intensified by systematic removal of mangrove margins, poor maintenance of infrastructure etc. Climate change-induced sea level rise is running at around at 3.14cm a year over the past two decades - much higher than the global average of two mms a year. Scientists believe that in the next 50 years, a rise of even one meter in sea level would inundate 1,000sq km of the Sunderbans. Climate change is also likely to cause reduced frequency but increased intensity of storms. This means greater risk damage to already inadequate homes, to infrastructure, crops, and agricultural land in general. In 2009, cyclone ‘Aila’ devastated the region, leaving behind a trail of destruction that the local communities still find it difficult to recover from.