A Railroad Slum in Dhaka City

(December 2000)



Many places in the third world millions of people have settled along railroad tracks on railroad or government property.   In my guide's terminology, this qualified as a "temporary slum."  Thousand of people crowded into shanties along the tracks.  



Another view of the stifling hot packed shanties with the buildings of downtown Dhaka in the background.   I have visited railroad slums very much like this one in Kolkata, Chittagong, and Mumbai.



Here we look from the railroad tracks off to one side.   Slum dwellers had expanded the slum into the air by putting their homes on top of bamboo poles.



A close-up of the walkway to the bamboo houses on bamboo poles.  Children and adults walk in or out twenty feet above the ground and water below.   The corrugated metal boxlike structure in the center of the photo appears to be an outhouse.  The excrement drops into the water below.



Meanwhile on the bank leading up from the water to the railroad, are the "hanging latrines" for the entire slum of thousands of people.   Excrement drops onto the steep bank and makes its way to the waterway which leads to the river that runs through Dhaka.


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