Helping flood victims is our moral obligation
Nearly a week of heavy downpour and onrush of upstream waters have flooded low-lying regions and char areas in close proximity of major rivers across Bangladesh. Around 100,000 people across north and north eastern districts have become victims of the recurring landslides and rising water levels of major rivers, making them stranded, water-logged, as well as risking them of water-borne diseases. The river basin areas of Aditmari, Hatibandha, Patgram and Lalmonihat have been particularly badly hit.
However, flash floods due to incessant rain and upstream inflow is almost a yearly episode in our country. Flood exposes thousands of people to immense sufferings. Poor people particularly bear the brunt of flooding as their vulnerable dwellings are washed away by the deluge. Floods damage crops and vegetables, paddy seedlings and pisciculture projects. Many seedbeds made by farmers for transplantation of Aman paddy go under floodwater, triggering financial losses to them. Vegetables on vast tracts of land go under water, pushing their prices to shoot up.
As floods displace many impoverished people they are forced to take shelter at flood shelters and on embankments. Shortage of food, safe drinking water and medicines make their lives despondent. Quite often waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and dysentery break out at flood shelters. Apart from the government's authorities concerned, we must all unite to stand by the flood victims. Supply of relief materials, cash money, safe drinking water and water purifying tablets among flood victims is the need of the minute. Besides, medical teams should be sent to the affected areas. Not to forget, helping these victims are our moral and patriotic obligation.
Almost all of us are aware of what needs to be done during floods, but post-flood rehabilitation also be seriously considered. Seeds of crops and seedlings of paddy should be supplied to the flood-hit farmers on an emergency basis. If farmers get those they can make good use of them and recoup the losses to a greater extent. Housing authorities should provide the farmers with house reconstruction grants or crisis grants. If it is not possible, the affected ones can at least get bank loans on easy terms and conditions for rebuilding their houses.
Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB) and Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) can play a crucial role in this regard. The issue of crop insurance has long been discussed. If it is implemented farmers will be immensely benefited. Advance preparation can mitigate the sufferings of the flood victims. Dredging of the silted rivers can also help solve post flood damages.