Adequate steps to address floods in north called for
It is indeed unfortunate that despite the likelihood of worsening of the prevailing flood situation in the northern region, the government is yet to ensure adequate relief supplies to the affected people. Already, as mentioned in a report published in New Age on Tuesday, around one lakh people have been marooned in Lalmonirhat and about two lakh people in some 250 low-lying villages in Kurigram. Worse still, most of the flood-hit people, who went back to their homes after the floodwater started to recede recently, have again been forced to take refuge at the rehabilitation centres by the rising water levels of the Teesta and Dharla rivers. According to the report, water levels of the two rivers have gone 15cm and 6cm above the danger marks Monday afternoon. That apart, in line with the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre, the Jamuna at Bahadurabad and Ghagat at Gaibandha were also flowing above the respective danger marks by 35cm and 11cm at 6:00am Monday. Reports have it that dearth of food, safe drinking water, medicines and shelter has added to the miseries of the affected people. On the other hand, thus far, the local administration of Lalmonirhat has distributed about 42 tonnes of rice and Tk 1 lakh in cash among the flood victims while the Kurigram district administration has provided the affected people with a total of over 1,610 tonnes of rice and Tk 30 lakh in cash. Needless to say, all this has proved hardly sufficient.
It is true that Bangladesh is a low-lying delta and a third of it is prone to going under water every monsoon. However, successive governments have thus far shown a general indifference to firm up its rescue, relief and rehabilitation mechanism so that the woes of the people can be addressed expeditiously. It appears that the incumbent Awami League-Jatiya party government has sought to continue with that unfortunate tradition. It is also important to note that the low-lying areas, particularly those routinely flooded even at the start of monsoon, are predominantly inhabited by the poor and marginalised people devoid of the ability to afford better places to live in. As has been seen in other cases, the reported inadequacy of relief activities on the part of the incumbents is attributable to their general apathy to these hapless sections.
Be that as it may, the government needs to come out of its indifference and take effective and expeditious steps provide succour to the flood-hit people.
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