Bangladesh By The River

The BBC has launched one of its most ambitious outside broadcast to date by chartering a boat which will tour the major rivers of Bangladesh for one month exploring the impact of climate change on the country and its people.

Nodipathey Bangladesh (Bangladesh By The River) launches from Dhaka on Sunday 28 October and will bring the voices of people coping with flooding and the effects of climate change to a global audience of millions. A special radio link-up will also connect Bangladeshis living in the UK with those living in the danger zones.

A team of BBC journalists – on radio, TV and online – will travel up to 200 miles along the Padma, Meghna and Jamuna rivers visiting many parts of Bangladesh. The specially branded BBC boat will meet people in areas which are likely to be affected by a rise in the sea level as a consequence of global warming.

News, features and documentaries will be delivered in 17 languages including Arabic, Azeri, Bengali, Brazilian, Burmese, Chinese, Hindi, English, Indonesian, Pashto, Persian, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili and Urdu.

There will also be a behind-the-scenes diary and an interactive map, plotting the route of the boat, online at

BBC Bangla will bring personal stories, views and features from the boat every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 19.30 (local time).

Masud Khan and co-host Shakeel Anwar will discuss with local communities, special guests and global experts the consequences of the potential effects of climate change on the people and the environment.

The Head of BBC Bangla Sabir Mustafa said:

“The boat tour will take the BBC to the edge of the Bay of Bengal, into the heart of the Sundarbans and up through the central regions of the country. It will give all of us, on the boat and across the world, a unique opportunity to debate issues of climate change with people living on the front line of the battle against the consequences of global warming.

“I am delighted that so many different parts of the BBC are joining us on this important journey, which means audiences listening in many languages across the globe can contribute and debate on an issue that may affect us all.”

Audiences can also tune in four special editions of Bangladesh Sanglap, BBC Bangla’s weekly interactive radio, TV and online discussion programme, co-produced with the BBC’s international development charity, BBC World Service Trust.

Hosted by Masud Khan, the programmes will directly engage in dialogue with people in the towns of Bhola, Mongla, Sirajganj and Rajbari – areas either ravaged by floods or predicted to be affected by climate change in the decades to come.

Bangladesh Sanglap will be broadcast over four Sundays on BBC Bangla radio starting Sunday 4 November at 20.00 (local time) and over four Mondays on Bangladesh Channel i television starting Monday 5 November at 20.00 (local time). A detailed report of the discussions, along with the full audio, will be posted online at

Other BBC programmes bringing live reports from the boat include BBC Asian Network, the BBC’s first national radio station for Bangladeshis living in the UK. It will dedicate its programming on Friday 16 November to the river tour.

On the day, BBC Asian Network host Gagan Grewal will visit the town of Sirajganj at 09.00 GMT to speak to those recently affected by the South Asia floods.

While there, Gagan will link up with BBC presenter Jas Rae in London, who will bring the voices of British Bangladeshis living in the famous London area of Brick Lane.

The two communities, separated by water but joined by a cause, will discuss the issues with each other and audiences across the world who can listen online at

Gagan Grewal will also present his popular daily current affairs show, Gagan Grewal, live from the boat every evening at 19.00 GMT. He will discuss with environmentalists and zoologists a range of issues, including the global consequences of climate change and the potential damage to the largest mangrove on earth called the Sundarbans, which is inhabited by the already threatened Royal Bengal Tiger.

Other BBC coverage includes BBC World television and BBC World Service programmes in English including The World Today, Health Check, Outlook and Over To You.

The entire BBC boat tour links in with a wider BBC World Service season of programmes called Taking The Temperature, which assesses a year of climate change campaigns, summits and reports.

Audiences can follow the progress of the boat tour online at with a map and twice-weekly behind-the-scenes diaries by Ben Sutherland and Alistair Lawson-Tancred, who will live and work on the boat for two weeks each.

Visitors to the website can also interact with a large map illustrating the location of the boat as it navigates the Bangladeshi river ways.

Using GPS to track the boat, the website enables visitors to click on locations on the map to find out more about the region the boat is touring and to read the stories coming out of that area.

BBC journalists Mark Dummett and Matt McGrath will also post stories from the boat on climate change and the people they meet along the way.

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