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Many deprived of relief goods

Published : Thursday, 23 June, 2022 at 12:00 AM  Count : 232

Many deprived of relief goods

Many deprived of relief goods

As the country reels from prolonged floods, it is upsetting that thousands trapped in the remote areas of the country's northern region are struggling to take delivery of relief goods.

District administrations in Sylhet division have also admitted they were struggling to reach the remote villages and shelter centres despite having sufficient relief at hand.

Local administrations' data on relief allocation clearly shows the government's efforts are far from adequate.

However, cry for relief goods have intensified to such degree that a man died after being injured in a jostle while trying to collect relief materials dropped from an Air Force helicopter on Tuesday. And it was no less touching as a school boy walked up for miles through submerged land to reach a relief coordination centre run by the army.

The point, however, flood is not a new phenomenon in Bangladesh. And the perils it inflicts over our people are also not new. Recurrence of same failures in helping flood victims, year after year somewhat frustrates us.

According to local administrations, all 13 upazilas in Sylhet, 12 in Sunamganj, 7 in Moulvibazar and 6 in Habiganj have been combating the floods. Moreover, around 45 lakh people, in all flood-hit areas combined, have been affected. At least 4.04 lakh of them have taken refuge in 1,474 shelters.

Hundreds more flood shelters could have been built had our disaster management authorities only prepared for the worst. That said - drawing bitter lessons from the ongoing floods, we draw urgent attention of authorities concerned to wake up from slumber and buckle up for future floods.

We also make an urgent call on our flood and disaster management authorities to build adequate number of shelters in remote regions. There are few shelters in most remote regions, and government's relief assistance hardly reaches the victims there. In addition, it is time to equip rescue teams with sufficient number of boats and helicopters since reaching remote regions has turned out to be a big challenge, even for the army.

Nevertheless, as floods are turning to be more frequent and bigger in scale, we believe, it must be a priority for the government to strengthen its forecasting and prevention mechanisms. Adverse effects of climate change are turning recent floods to be unpredictable and longer in duration. Moreover, a plan should be in place to provide farmers with seedlings immediately after the floodwater recedes and compensate them for the crop loss.

Given the ominous reality of recent floods, it is also time for the people to team up with government agencies and work together, it won't be possible to manage and then recover from the adverse effects unless we can ensure an all-out approach.

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